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Washout in LS; Cong forces adjournment of House on prices, rail fare

Washout in LS; Cong forces adjournment of House on prices, rail fare
Highlights

Washout in LS; Cong forces adjournment of House on prices, rail fare, Stepping into aggression mode, the Congress forced adjournment of the Lok Sabha on Monday, on the issue of price rise, hike in railway fare and freight charges.

  • Speaker rejects Adjournment motion
  • Now in Oppn, Cong pays back BJP in its own coin
  • Cong also demonstrates at Jantar Mantar
  • TMC, SP, RJD and Left join Cong in protest
  • Cong leads Oppn walkout in RS


New Delhi: Stepping into aggression mode, the Congress forced adjournment of the Lok Sabha on Monday, on the issue of price rise, hike in railway fare and freight charges.

The first day of the Monsoon Session was a washout in the Lok Sabha, while in the Rajya Sabha, where discussion took place, the Opposition staged a walkout, after slamming the Government. Outside Parliament, the Congress held a demonstration to protest against price rise at Jantar-Mantar.

In a role reversal, the Modi Government, facing the first major Parliament Session, found itself at the receiving end, both inside and outside Parliament. Now in Opposition, the Congress chose to pay back the BJP in its own coin, as the latter had disrupted the proceedings when it was in Opposition.

The Opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress, the SP, the RJD and the Left rallied behind the Congress on the demand for a discussion under the Adjournment Motion. The Congress invoked the parliamentary device of Adjournment Motion in Lok Sabha, in order to censure the government.

Rahul Gandhi showed solidarity with the agitating party MPs. Sitting on the back benches, Rahul moved forward to and stood near the front-row, where Congress president Sonia Gandhi was seated, but he took care not to move into the well of the House.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected the demand for Adjournment Motion, but admitted Notices for a short-duration discussion under Rule 193 that does not entail voting. The Opposition, however, remained adamant on their demand.

The Speaker said she was prepared to allow a short duration discussion, without voting, but with neither the Treasury nor the Opposition blinking, the logjam persisted.
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad led the Opposition walkout, dissatisfied with the reply of Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The BJP, Azad said, sought mandate from the people by peddling the dream of rolling back prices and at the first opportunity it hiked the prices of railway fares and freight charges and fuel prices and failed to check the prices of essential commodities.

In his reply, Arun Jaitley blamed the previous Congress policies for the present position. “What surprises me is that the party, which brought the economy to this state wants to put the blame on someone else today,” he remarked. On Railway fare and freight charges hike, he waved documents to show that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had approved the hikes in February but asked the Railway Board to implement it in May first week. On May 16, the Railway Board notified it, but the then Railway Minister M Mallikarjun Kharge rescinded the order and left the decision to be taken by the next Government. Jaitley said that faced with a Hobson’s choice, Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda decided to bite the bullet in national interest. The loss to the railways on passenger fares account was to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore, he said.

On price front, Jaitley blamed the fuel prices hike on the turmoil in Iraq, but for tackling food inflation, he claimed credit for the government for taking several timely measures. These included minimum export price for onions at $ 500 per tonne and for potatoes at $ 450 per tonne and asked the States to ensure minimum stocksand to crackdown on hoarders.

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