Day 2 Monsoon Session: Protests Stall Parliament

New Delhi: Both houses of parliament were adjourned twice Tuesday, forcing cancellation of the crucial question hour for the second successive day, as the government and the opposition seemed headed for a stalemate over the nature of debate on rising prices and corruption.

The Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha were first adjourned till 12 noon and then till 2 p.m. as the unrest continued.

Trouble began as soon the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha met for the day's proceedings at 11 a.m. Opposition members rose from their seats, demanding that the question hour be suspended so that debates on price rise and corruption could be taken up on priority basis and under the rule that entails voting.

The government has so far rejected this demand, conceding that it was ready to debate any issue but not under rules that entail voting and make the house recommendations binding on it.

MPs from the Uttar Pradesh's ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also protested, demanding the government table in the current session the new land acquisition bill that was drafted last Friday.

Chairman Hamid Ansari immediately adjourned the Rajya Sabha following the ruckus created by opposition MPs.

When the house met again at 12, the scenes were no different, forcing K. Rahman in the chair to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar made obituary references to pay tributes to two former MPs who died during the inter-session period.

However, when she called for questions to be laid, opposition MPs were on their feet, demanding that discussions on graft and inflation be held first. The speaker went ahead with the schedule, prompting noisy protests in the house. She adjourned the house till 12 noon.

Protests returned when the house reassembled. However, Meira Kumar did manage to get some papers tabled in the house, including a copy of an agreement between the Food Corporation of India and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution for the year 2011-2012.

But the noisy protests gained momentum, forcing her to adjourn the Lok Sabha to meet again at 2 p.m.

With the parliament business being stalled for the second day of the month-long session, the government and opposition appear headed for another logjam.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition has already indicated that it will seek answers from the government on rising prices, corruption and terrorist attacks.

Both the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties and the Left have demanded discussion on these issues under the rule that entails voting.

"Discussion under rules that entail voting will make the government take a committed stand to deal with price rise," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.

The Left parties have already given a notice in this regard, he said.

The BJP has also sought answers on the 2G scam from both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram after jailed former IT and communications minister A. Raja dragged them into the scandal, saying he had kept them informed with every decision he had taken in issuing telecom spectrum license.