Price rise issue rocks Parliament
NEW DELHI, July 27 – Demanding a debate on price rise under a motion that entails voting, the entire Opposition today prevented functioning of both Houses of Parliament and vowed to press the issue again tomorrow, setting the stage for another showdown, reports PTI.
Cutting across party lines, the opposition including BJP-led NDA and Left created pandemonium in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha by pressing for Adjournment Motion on price rise issue on the first day of business during the Monsoon Session that began yesterday.
Among other parties pressing the demand were Samajwadi Party RJD and JD(U). BSP also wanted suspension of Question Hour to discuss price rise but not under a motion that entails voting as it does not want to be seen “with BJP”.
While the government has expressed readiness for a debate on the issue, it is not willing to do so under the rule that provides for voting, arguing that such a discussion has already taken place under Cut Motion in April.
To blunt this argument, the Opposition parties are pressing for discussion on increase in prices of kerosene and LPG, which have taken place recently.
The Opposition members created uproar in both the Houses while pressing their demands. In view of the situation, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned, first till 1200 hours and then for the day without transacting any business. Amid pandemonium, the Lok Sabha was adjourned thrice till 2 pm, when it was adjourned for the day.
BJP and Left parties said they would again press for Adjournment Motion tomorrow, setting stage for another showdown. BJP, in fact, made it clear that it will not allow Parliament to function till its demand was met.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the hike in fuel prices has disturbed the the common man’s budget and the entire Opposition was united in demand.
She noted that a number of Opposition members have submitted adjournment motions on the issue. “We want that all work should be suspended and the Adjournment Motion taken up on priority. The entire opposition is united on this,” she said. “Accept our adjournment motions and allow a discussion on the issue,” she said pointing out that even some parties supporting the government have made common cause with the Opposition.
SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, whose parties are supporting the Government, stormed the well protesting against price rise.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government is prepared for discussion on any of the 62 items listed by the Opposition but the Adjournment Motion does not apply to any of those.
Trinamool Congress, which is the second largest party in the UPA, also wanted a discussion. Party chief whip Sudip Bandhyopadhyay said outside Parliament that his party was for discussion on the issue but was against Opposition’s demand for a debate under a rule that entails voting.
Trouble started in the Lok Sabha as soon as it assembled and Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned it till noon.
BJP and other Opposition members were on their feet protesting against price rise. Swaraj said the increase in fuel prices had hurt the domestic budget of people.
SP and RJD members stormed the well shouting slogans like ‘Jo Sarkar Nikammi Hai, woh Sarkar Badalani Hai (the government is incompetent, we have to change it).’
When the House re-assembled, pandemonium was witnessed again but in the din, some papers were laid and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora made a suo motu statement on fuel prices within a span of about 10 minutes.
As the uproar continued, the House was adjourned till 2.00 pm, when it was finally adjourned for the day. Prasad later said there must be a discussion with voting on the price rise.
In the Rajya Sabha, soon after new members took oath or affirmation, the entire Opposition was up on its feet raising the issue of price rise.
The BJP-led NDA was joined by Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and AIADMK in vociferously raising the issue of rise in prices of essential commodities particularly domestic cooking gas LPG and PDS kerosene.
BSP leader S C Mishra told reporters outside Parliament that his party is also “concerned about price rise of petrol and kerosene which is affecting the common man and especially the poor.” He said BSP had given notice for suspicion of Question Hour to discuss the issue.
The discussion has been demanded at a time when food inflation has been hovering around 12.47 per cent and general inflation at 10.55 per cent.
Source: The Assam Tribune