Parliament was paralysed on Tuesday over the detention of Anna Hazare and his supporters, with the Opposition accusing the government of “murdering” democracy and likening the situation to Emergency.
BJP, CPI and JD(U) and some others wanted suspension of Question Hour in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue in the backdrop of corruption and created pandemonium when the plea was rejected.
Because of the uproar, which began as soon as the two Houses met for the day, no business was transacted in either House.Rajya Sabha was first adjourned till noon and then for the day.The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 11.30 AM, then till noon and finally for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley alleged that government was indulging in “murder of democracy” while senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said in the Lok Sabha that “there is Emergency outside Parliament, there is Emergency inside Parliament.”
When the Lok Sabha met for the day, Speaker Meira Kumar informed the House that suspension of Question Hour notices had been given by Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and JD(U) member Sharad Yadav among others.
They wanted an immediate debate on the detention of Hazare and on the larger issue of corruption.
The Speaker disallowed the notices for adjournment motion given by Yogi Adityanath (BJP) and Shailendra Kumar (SP) on Hazare and some issues related to Uttar Pradesh.
She said there was no provision for suspension of Question Hour in Lok Sabha, but asked the members making this demand to “briefly touch upon the subject”.
However, when Swaraj rose to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal intervened and said, “My submission is that the government is prepared for a discussion at 12 (noon). They make their point and then the House is disrupted…”
He insisted that if Swaraj is allowed to speak, the Home Minister should also be allowed to make a statement.
Agitated members of BJP, JD(U), CPI-M, CPI, SP and BSP were on their feet objecting to Bansal’s comments.
Congress members too were on the feet and demanded that the Question Hour be held.
Sanjay Nirupam (Cong) said his party was objecting to opposition parties supporting those going against democracy.
The Speaker then adjourned the House till 11:30 am.
When the House re-assembled, similar scenes were witnessed and the Chair adjourned it till noon.
There was uproar again at noon, with BJP members chanting that the government was “murderer of democracy” and insisted that Swaraj be allowed to speak.
Sinha said there was “undeclared emergency” and declared the House will not be allowed to function till Swaraj spoke.
Swaraj was unhappy for being disallowed to speak even though Bansal had promised that she could do so at noon.
The Speaker, while disallowing it, said it was a matter related to the Question Hour.
The BJP members rushed to the well creating pandemonium, prompting the Chair to adjourn the House for the day.
Swaraj alleged that Bansal was defying the Speaker by not allowing her to speak.
“The undemocratic attitude adopted by the government outside the House is being adopted inside as well,” she said.
In the din, a short duration discussion on Sri Lanka could not take place even as the Speaker called DMK leader T R Baalu to initiate it.
In the Rajya Sabha, when Chairman Hamid Ansari took up the first question, Jaitley rose to make a statement.
Ruling Congress members prevented Jaitley from speaking.
“Let us hear the Leader of the Opposition,” Ansari said as Congress members stood up demanding that the Question Hour be taken up first.
At this, opposition members shouted back at the ruling benches, plunging the House into turmoil.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said the Home Minister will make a statement at noon.
But this failed to pacify the opposition members and the din grew louder with ruling party members raising their pitch against Jaitley being allowed to speak.
“This is not right. Please allow the Leader of the Opposition to speak,” Ansari said asking members to resume their seats.
As soon as the Rajya Sabha re-assembled at noon, BJP members were on their feet demanding that Jaitley be allowed to speak on Hazare’s detention.
Rudra Narayan Pany rushed into the well shouting slogans as the Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan asked the ministers to lay papers in the House.
Pany, however, inched close to the Chair and appeared to be attempting to snatch the papers kept on Khan’s table but soon his colleagues led S S Ahluwalia dragged him away.
Later Jaitley, who rose to speak amid vociferous protests by the ruling party members, described the detention of Hazare as “nothing short of a lethal assault” on Indian democracy.
Expressing “strong anguish and protest” over the episode, the BJP leader questioned whether the Government will deprive the civil society from expressing its views.
However, the ruling party members did not allow Jaitley to speak further shouting slogans forcing the Chair to adjourn the House for the day.