Both Houses of Parliament, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, were adjourned on Monday, March 5 soon after they met, on the first day after the recess for the second part of the Budget session of Parliament, amid Opposition protests over the Punjab National Bank fraud and special status to Andhra Pradesh.
The session got off to a stormy start, two days after the election results in the northeast were announced that saw the BJP triumphing in Tripura and improving its performance in Nagaland and Meghalaya.
The Lok Sabha was initially adjourned till 12 noon after the Opposition members continued protests over various issues, making it difficult for speaker Sumitra Mahajan to moderate the session. Soon after the House resumed, she was forced to adjourn the House as Opposition leaders continued to create a ruckus over the Rs 12,703-crore scam involving the Punjab National Bank and jeweller Nirav Modi as well as MPs’ demand for a special package for Andhra Pradesh.
The Rajya Sabha was first adjourned till 11.20 am after a new member, Hishey Lachungpa from Sikkim, was sworn in, and Chairman Venkaiah Naidu read out obituary references for former members Narsingh Narayn Pandey and Faguni Ram. The Upper House reconvened to more ruckus, sloganeering and protesting MPs trooping into the Well with placards. Naidu then adjourned the Rajya Sabha till 2 pm.
When the House reconvened, Andhra Pradesh MPs resumed their protests for a Special Category status, MPs from Tamil Nadu demanded that the Centre sets up the Cauvery Management Board, and Congress members wanted to know where Nirav Modi is, The Hindu reported.
Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said Naidu was ready to hold a discussion on bank fraud. While Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad supported discussing the matter, other members continued to storm the well, making him inaudible.
The House was soon adjourned for the day.
The first half of the Budget Session, which ended on February 9, was also marked by similar frequent adjournments after protests by leaders from Andhra Pradesh.
Congress Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma submitted an adjournment notice to discuss the alleged bank fraud. Two more notices have been issued on this matter. “We will demand answers from the government on the bank fraud scam. We will also demand answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the scam happened right under his watch,” NDTV quoted Anand Sharma as saying.
Bihar politician Pappu Yadav issued an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha to discuss the alleged leak of a Staff Selection Committee question paper. Bharatiya Janata Party MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe issued a notice to discuss the allegations of corruption against relatives of former ministers.
Outside Parliament, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal responded to the Opposition’s offensive over the Punjab National Bank case, saying the scam “started during the time of the Congress”.
During this session, the government is hoping to counter the Opposition with its Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, which once passed will give it the power to attach the assets of offenders declared fugitives.
Among the other bills the government has listed are the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill and the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, in the Lok Sabha. In the Rajya Sabha, the government has listed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill and the State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill.