The naming of 20 BJP members, who had trooped into the Well protesting Defence Minister A K Antony’s statement on LoC killings, led to strong protests in Rajya Sabha with party MPs staging a walk out and staying away from the proceedings during Zero hour.
The entire Opposition came out in support of 22 members (20 from BJP and 2 from TDP), who were named by the Chair for ‘gross disorderly conduct’ in the House, and forced three adjournments in the pre-noon sitting.
Though Government managed to introduce two bills during Zero Hour amid din, members from other Opposition parties – AIADMK, CPI-M, SP, BSP JD(U) and AGP – did not allow further business saying it was not good that the House runs without the presence of the main Opposition party.
Naresh Agrawal (SP) suggested that Deputy Chairman P J Kurien should apologise, while V Maitreyan (AIADMK) demanded a ruling from the Chair on the issue.
Earlier, when the House met for the day, M Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) raised the issue saying such naming of members had never happened even when members from the ruling parties tore women’s reservation bill.
“Why this discrimination? What is the rule? Naming of members of one party and showing discrimination (against others) is not acceptable. We denounce it,” he said, adding the Bulletin had not named members of the ruling party who too had disrupted the proceedings over creation of Telangana.
“What is this practice? Who decided this?” he asked. “This is an insult and discrimination against main opposition party. This is infringement of our rights. I don’t know if it has happened with your (Chairman Hamid Ansari’s) knowledge.”
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said never had expression of protests by several sections of the House figured in Rajya Sabha Bulletin.
He said the Bulletin did not name the ruling party member who menacingly marched towards a member of supporting party and another member who was in the Well over Telangana issue.
Taking a hard position, Antony told Parliament that the “brutal and unprovoked” attack on Indian side of the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir “outraged us all” and “naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the LoC and for our relations with Pakistan.”
Sending out a message to Pakistan, he said, “Our restraint should not be taken for granted; nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the Government to uphold the sanctity of LoC ever be doubted.”
Antony said, “Those in Pakistan who are responsible for this tragedy and the brutal killing of two soldiers earlier this year should not go unpunished.
“Pakistan should also show determined action to dismantle terrorists networks, organisations and infrastructure and show tangible movement on bringing those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 to justice quickly,” he said.
Referring to his statement on Tuesday which created a huge political storm, he said, “When I reported the incident to the House, it was Government’s obligation to report the facts as we knew them at that point of time, and my statement was based on the available information.”
Soon after Antony’s fresh statement, Swaraj said, “We are happy that the Defence Minister has accepted his mistake and tried to rectify it…He has said the Pakistan army was involved and that our restraint should not be taken for granted.”
Taking on Congress, Swaraj suggested that those who had alleged BJP was playing politics over the killing of five Indian soldiers were wrong and that they should know that the party was trying to get corrected the Defence Minister’s statement made on Tuesday.
In Rajya Sabha, Antony could not complete the statement due to uproar caused by opposition over naming of 22 of its members for “gross disorderly conduct”.
Members from BSP and JD(U) were also on their feet. In the meanwhile two TDP members C M Ramesh and Y S Chowdhary, who were named in the bulletin for “disorderly conduct in violation of rules and etiquettes of Rajya Sabha”, stood in the Well with a black cloth on their mouth protesting the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
As din continued, Kurien adjourned the House till 2 PM.
The House Bulletin said: “Today (7.8.2013), the Chair adjourned the House due to gross disorderly conduct in violation of rules and etiquettes of Rajya Sabha by the following Members who entered the ‘Well’ of the House and persistently and willfully obstructed the proceedings of the House.”
Besides Chowdhury and Ramesh, it named Jagat Prakash Nadda, Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala, Avinash Rai Khanna, Smriti Zubin Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan, V P Singh Badnore, Om Prakash Mathur, Bharatsinh Prabhatsinh Parmar, Bhupender Yadav, Natuji Halaji Thakor, Dilipbhai Pandya, Bhushanlal Jangde, Prabhakar Kore, Tarun Vijay, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Rangasayee Ramakrishna, Nand Kumar Sai, Maya Singh, Mansukh L Mandaviya and Shankarbhai N Vegad.
For the same reason Chowdhury and Ramesh were named in the Bulletin for August 6.