Modi government agrees for discussion on Delhi violence

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day today with hardly any legislative business being transacted for the second day even as the government agreed to the opposition parties’ demand for a discussion on violence in Delhi.

As the upper house re-assembled at 3 pm after two adjournments earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said it would appear strange if the Parliament did not discuss the incidents of violence in Delhi when the whole world was talking about it.

Referring to the incidents of violence which has claimed at least 44 lives so far, Azad said irrespective of religion, 90 per cent of those who lost their lives belonged to the age group of 24 to 35 years, which is a huge loss to the nation.

He said the discussion should aim towards ensuring that such an incident does not recur in the country. Appealing to the government for a discussion on the issue at the earliest, he said it will appear like a “non-event” if Parliament discusses the matter after a week.

Azad said members from Opposition parties would act responsibly and not fuel tensions further. Leader of the House Thawar Chand Gehlot said the government is ready for a discussion on the issue at a timing ascertained by the Chairman (M Venkaiah Naidu).

“Everyone has criticised the incident that has happened. This incident is being discussed all over the world and it will look strange if we don’t discuss it here when the session is on,” Azad said.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said as the leader of the house and the leader of opposition are of the same view, the discussion should be scheduled for 11 am on Wednesday.

Bhupendra Choubey of the BJP said the Chair should not be forced to hold the discussion at a particular time and the decision of when to hold the discussion should be left to the Chair’s discretion. Deputy Chairman Harivansh said the timing of the discussion could only be decided after consulting Chairman Naidu.

K Keshava Rao (TRS) said the House should be adjourned for the day to send out a message that the issue in Delhi was of primary concern. The House was adjourned twice earlier in the day, first in the morning till 2pm and then again till 3 pm after opposition and treasury benches indulged in a war of words over alleged hate speech by Union Minister Anurag Thakur in the run up to Delhi Assembly polls and the violence in the national capital.

As soon as the House assembled in the afternoon, Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked the member to allow laying of reports of department-related parliamentary standing committees listed in the business.

Immediately after laying the reports, a Congress leader raised a point of order to raise the issue again as opposition was pressing for discussion on Delhi violence. But the Deputy Chairman said, “We are ready to discuss the issue according to decision (regarding time slot) of the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.”

On this leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said,”It is very serious issue. Now if the situation is normal then let us discuss the issue here or the government should tell us that the situation is not normal….”

Before Azad could complete his remarks, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the House till 3 pm. Earlier in the morning trouble broke out when Thakur, who has been under opposition attack over his alleged hate speech during the poll campaign for the Delhi assembly polls, was called to lay listed papers pertaining to his Finance Ministry on the table.

As Thakur, the Minister of State for Finance, rose to read a one-line statement laying listed papers on the table, he was booed by opposition benches.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal rose to defend Thakur but this only resulted in heated arguments between the two sides.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said no comments or slogans will go on record. But the opposition and ruling members continued to clash with Congress, Left and other opposition parties raising the issue of the communal violence in the national capital that has left at least 44 dead.

As heated arguments continued, Naidu said he would have no option but to adjourn proceedings if members did not want to run the business.
However, heated exchanged continued forcing Naidu to adjourn proceedings till 2 pm.

Before adjourning, Naidu said this was the reason why he had not immediately agreed for a discussion. Thakur was the third listed Minister to lay papers and eight reports of parliamentary standing committees relating to different ministries, which were listed to be presented, could not be laid due to the uproar.