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Storm on first day of monsoon session

Monday August 01, 2011 05:10:30 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday urged the opposition to allow parliament function smoothly but the very first day of the month-long monsoon session indicated that a storm lay ahead.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned till Tuesday after obituary references, but the Rajya Sabha was crippled by opposition raising the issues of corruption and inflation. The session is set to end Sep 8.

The confrontation between the government and the opposition was on expected lines.

"It is our sincere desire that this session should move smoothly, that parliament should debate and discuss all issues of national importance and the government is quite prepared on any subject that opposition would like to be taken up," Manmohan Singh said minutes before the session began.

"My appeal to the opposition is to unite on this occasion, to tackle all issues collectively that our nation faces," he told reporters.

But his appeal was not heeded to by opposition members.

In the Lok Sabha, they didn't get to raise the issues and protest because the lower house was adjourned soon after Speaker Meira Kumar paid tributes to MP and former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal, who died June 3.

But in the Rajya Sabha, the opposition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) trained its guns on the government.

Soon after the swearing in of new members and some obituary references, BJP MPs rose from their seats demanding a discussion on the statements by jailed former IT and communications minister A. Raja.

Raja, the main accused in the 2G scam, has dragged Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram into what is billed as one of the biggest scandals in India.

Manmohan Singh has ruled out the possibility of a discussion on this. "The matter (2G) is before court. It should be left to be decided by the court and parliament should not pre-judge the issue."

AIADMK members flashing copies of a Tamil newspaper joined their BJP counterparts.

In the din, BJP MP from Orissa, Rudra Narayan Pany, shouted for Manmohan Singh's resignation.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members protested against the draft of a new land acquisition bill released by the government Friday to put in place a legal framework to acquire land from farmers.

Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the house for 15 minutes. But the situation was much the same when the members met again at noon, and Ansari adjourned the house till Tuesday.

The opposition stuck to its demand for discussing corruption and price rise as per the rules that entail voting, and make parliament recommendations biding on the government to tackle these issues.

"We will move adjournment motions every day. We want discussions on corruption and price rise and demand voting. We won't allow the house to function," Communist Part of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury told IANS outside parliament.

The BJP said its members would continue with the demand for discussing the alleged 2G involvement of Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram, who was the finance minister when spectrum licences were allocated in 2008.

"Now they are distancing themselves from the scam, we will press for the issue to be taken up tomorrow. We have lots of evidences to prove how the prime minister looked the other way when the scam was happening," BJP MP Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

The government is hopeful that it won't turn into a parliament deadlock as had happened in the winter session in 2010.

"Their sentiments, their concerns, their commitments and their politics are well understood. But it should be an impediment to their desire of allowing the house to function. We can discuss any issue on the floor of the house but parliament should be allowed to run smoothly," Law Minister Salman Khurshid told IANS.










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