Parliament washout: Rs 1.7 billion wasted; Congress, BJP continue protests

Delhi: MP's Telugu Desam protest demanding a special package for A.P. during the Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi | PTI Photo
The members of Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies in the Parliament decided not to take a salary for the 23 days — the second phase of the ongoing Budget session. The Parliament session was completely washed out during that time due to protests by the main Opposition parties — TDP, AIADMK, Congress and others. 

Announcing the decision on Wednesday night, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar blamed the Congress party for the continuous disruption in both the Houses. 

Criticising the disruptions by the Congress party as "anti-democratic politics" for stopping important bills from being passed. 

This is the first time in recent times that MPs have decided to forgo their salary. Interestingly, no major Bill has been cleared in this session, apart from the Union Budget. There are few important bills pending in the Parliament are — Triple Talaq bill, Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 and National Medical Commission Bill, 2017.

Here are the details

Union Minister Anant Kumar has blamed the main Opposition party — Congress for wasting the Parliamentary proceedings. "It is people's money. MPs have been elected to work for the people. Since no work is being done we have decided not to take money," he told reporters. 

"The Congress has become intolerant of the people's mandate given to Narendra Bhai Modi. We will take the issue to the people," Kumar said.

Rajya Sabha adjourned for 11 times on Wednesday: The move by the Bharatiya Janata Party came on Wednesday when the Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for a record 11 times due to noisy protests. 

The upper house saw an unusual 11 adjournments of which 10 came in the second half as the AIADMK, the TDP, the YSR Congress and other opposition members continued with their agitation in the House.

Parliament on Wednesday remained deadlocked for the 20th consecutive day on Wednesday. 

Why only Congress? 

The MPs of the ruling party are targeting Congress for the disruption in the Parliament while the truth is Congress is not the party responsible for the logjam. While Congress had disrupted the House for the first few days to discuss issues like PNB scam, YSR Congress and TDP took the protest to new turn on the issue of special category status for Andhra Pradesh. AIADMK also disrupted the proceedings for a fortnight over Cauvery Management Board issue. 

"See who is disrupting the proceedings," says Ghulam Nabi Azad

While the ruling party is blaming the Oppositions for the disruption, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad blamed the government for the disruptions and said the government was running away from discussion on various issues including the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh, Cauvery water distribution between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, CBSE paper leak and the banking fraud.

"I am sorry to say but it is the treasury benches which is not allowing the House to function. See who is disrupting the proceedings. Let the country see," he said, amid noisy scenes created by the treasury benches.

Azad said the government was "more interested in its Bill than the interests of the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes".

Deadlock to continue

Logjam in Parliament may continue on Thursday as well. The leaders of 15 Opposition parties will hold a protest in front of  Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament on Thursday over a slew of issues, including banking scam, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act issue and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) paper leak.

No work, no pay: Manoj Tiwari

Earlier, BJP's MP Manoj Tiwari had demanded the implementation of "no work, no pay" rule in Parliament, and pitched for reducing emoluments of MPs if they fail to engage in "constructive work”. 

In a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, he expressed his "great anguish" at the stalemate in the Lower House over the "unprecedented chaos", and said it was equally disturbing to see public representatives, who are primarily responsible for making laws, running away from their responsibilities. 

"Murder of democracy," says Venkaiah Naidu on disruptions

Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday expressed anguish over the ongoing protests by the Telugu Desam Party, AIADMK, Congress and other opposition parties on different issues and dubbed these "murder of democracy".

Naidu's remarks came when the house met for the day and the opposition parties refused to heed his repeated requests to allow the house to function so that some important bills could be passed.

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