With Parliament continuing to remain paralysed for the 12th day, the Congress hit out at the government on Tuesday for the stalemate saying it was not making an effort to engage with all parties to ensure that issues like banking fraud are debated in the House.
Minutes before Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day amid ruckus by Tamil and Andhra parties, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said they want the House to function and debate on three pressing issues as well as the Budget and other legislative business.
He made the brief comments soon after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj informed the House of the death of 39 missing Indians in Iraq.
While most of the opposition wanted Azad to make the statement, Tamil parties – DMK and AIADMK – as well as those from Andhra Pradesh including TDP trooped into the Well of the House shouting slogans for constitution of Cauvery Water Management Board and special status to Andhra.
Azad first tried to persuade them to stop shouting slogans so that he can speak, but went on to make his submission when they refused to relent.
He said 10 opposition parties including Congress, TMC, SP, BSP, DMK, NCP, CPI and CPI (M) met this morning and agreed that the House should function.
Three major issues which are agitating the minds of people are “irregularities in banks where billions of rupees have been looted”, special category status for Andhra Pradesh and Cauvery water, he said.
“We want that the House functions and discussions take place on the three issues,” he said.
The government is “responsible for the impasse” as it is not engaging with all political parties, he alleged, adding no effective steps have been taken to ensure that the House functions.
While Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad countered him saying the government is prepared for a debate on all issues including the banking fraud, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said the government has since day one stated that it is prepared for any discussion.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he had on the very first day said that banking issue needs to be discussed and the government has also agreed to it.
“I don’t find any reason” for disruption, he said. “What is happening. This is no good.”
Minutes later he adjourned the proceedings for the day.
Rajya Sabha hasn’t transacted any substantial business since March 5, when the second half of the Budget session of Parliament resumed, due to protests by parties on various issues.