Opposition stalls Parliament proceedings over Lalitgate, Vyapam scam

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Parliament was adjourned thrice in pre-lunch session and finally for the day on 22 July with opposition forcing repeated adjournments of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over Lalitgate and Vyapam scam.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that she will name a Congress leader in Parliament who approached her for a diplomatic passport for a coal-scam accused leader Santosh Bagrodia. Bagrodia was summoned as an accused in the coal scam case.

In the Lok Sabha,  opposition MPs, sporting black banks, held up placards and when they continued to hold them up, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan warned disciplinary action could be taken against Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) members. As the din showed no sign of slowing down, Mahajan adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day.

While this was so, the TRS  demanded setting up of a separate high court in Telangana.

After the Rajya Sabha assembled and obituary references were paid, Congress, BSP and Left members stood up and said no debate was possible without Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhra Raje putting in their papers following their alleged involvement in Lalit Modi row.

This led to heated exchanges between the opposition and the treasury benches leading deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien to adjourn the House first for 15 minutes and then again till noon.

The BJP MPs said discussion be started on Lalit Modi issue before the opposition spoke on the adjournment motion. “Why does the government want to be like the opposition,” Kurien asked. When BJP members continued to shout slogans, he said, “Please don’t pressurise me… treasury benches should not pressurise me. … Why do you create disturbance,” saying which he adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

When the house met again at 12.30pm after the first adjournment, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested some members be allowed to speak, prompting Jaitley to protest.

When chairperson Hamid Ansari took up the Question Hour at noon, the din by the opposition reached a crescendo forcing the Vice-President to adjourn the House for the third time.

Earlier, finance minister Arun Jaitley defended Swaraj and asked the oppposition to point out one provision of law that she had violated in allegedly trying to help Lalit Modi. He said Vyapam issue was “a state issue” and if the Opposition wants to change rules, then issues ranging from Kerala, HP, Assam and Goa should be discussed.

When Kurien called Mayawati to speak on the BSP’s adjournment motion, it was met by stiff opposition from treasury benches with Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi raising their voice in protest.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati attacking PM Narendra Modi, said the episode has exposed those who had claimed “na khaoonga, na khane doonga” (I will neither take bribe nor will I allow anyone to take it). Though Swaraj and Raje were guilty in Lalitgate row, the government wasn’t willing to take action against them, Mayawati said.

When Jaitley raised a point of order saying that House can only discuss issues related to the centre, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), however, said Vyapam issue was not restricted to one state alone as people had died even outside Madhya Pradesh.

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