Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Anna's arrest leave Congress nervous: Opposition unite
The Congress nervousness over Anna Hazare arrest is crystal clear.
The parliamentary strategy of the ruling party was to disallow the opposition members speak on the issue even after the chairs in both the Houses allowed the respective leaders of the opposition to speak on the arrest.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had to be
adjourned for the day on August 16 amid noisy protests from both the
opposition and treasury benches over the detention of activist Anna Hazare and his associates.
Uproar erupted in the Lok Sabha immediately after the house assembled
for the day's business, with the opposition led by BJP protesting
Hazare's detention by Delhi Police earlier in the morning. Other NDA
members were also supporting them.
The opposition MPs, while terming the government's move as
undemocratic and unjustified, demanded the suspension of the question
hour to take up a full-fledged debate on the issue.
Shouting anti-government slogans, opposition members demanded an
explanation from the UPA government for detaining the crusader and
hundreds of his supporters ahead of their peaceful protest to press for a stronger Lokpal bill.
As soon as the House met, the Speaker Ms Meira Kumar informed the
House that suspension of Question Hour notices had been given by
Leader of the Opposition Ms Sushma Swaraj, CPI leader Mr Gurudas
Dasgupta and JD(U) member Mr Sharad Yadav among others. She also said
BJP's Yogi Adityanath and Shailendra Kumar of SP had given separate
notices of adjournment of House proceedinsg to discuss Hazare and UP
matters. She ruled that the notices were rejected but allowed the
Leader of the Opposition and others to speak for a while on Hazare's
Immediately after Ms Sushma Swaraj was on her feet, the Parliamentary
Affairs minister Mr P K Bansal said the discussion should be taken up
after 12 pm. He said the opposotion members after making their
submission disrupt the house and thus do not allow the government to
have its say.
Amid ruckus, the House was first adjourned till 11.30 and then again
till 12 noon.
However, after 12 as the Speaker called for laying down of papers, the
opposition members including Ms Sushma Swaraj, and her party
colleagues including Mr Yashwant Sinha, Shahnawaz Hussain, Yogi
Adityanath were up on their feet demanding that Ms Swaraj should be
allowed to speak.
Mr Bansal, however, argued that the Speaker's ruling for the time for
opposition members was confined only during Question Hour. This
angered the opposition bench members' further.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister insisted that if Swaraj is allowed
to speak, the Home Minister should also be allowed to make a
Agitated members of BJP, JD(U), CPI-M, CPI, SP and BSP were on their
feet objecting to Mr Bansal's comments.
A few Congress members also sprang up on their feet. Among others, Mr
Satpal Maharaj and Mr Sanjay Nirupam were leading the charge
on behalf of the Congress. Mr Sanjay Nirupam said his party was
objecting to opposition parties supporting those going against
The Leader of the Opposition, Ms swaraj charged that the same
yardstick was being applied by the government both inside and outside
parliament to suppress the voice of its opponents.
Amid bedlam, the Speaker then adjourned the House for the day.
Similar noisy scenes prevailed in Rajya Sabha too.
The Congress members prevented Leader of the Opposition in the upper
House, Mr Arun Jaitley from making a statement on the
detention of Anna Hazare and forced adjournment of the House first till noon.
When Chairman Mr Hamid Ansari took up the first question as soon as
the House met for the day, Mr. Jaitley rose to make a statement.
“Let us hear the Leader of the Opposition,” Mr. Ansari said as ruling
party members stood up demanding that the Question Hour be taken up
At this, opposition members shouted back at the ruling benches,
plunging the House into turmoil.
The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mr Rajeev Shukla said
Home Minister Mr P. Chidambaram will make a statement at 12 p.m. on
of Anna Hazare.
But this failed to pacify the opposition members and the din grew
louder with ruling party members raising their pitch against Mr.
Jaitley being allowed to speak.
“This is not right. Please allow the Leader of the Opposition to
speak,” Mr. Ansari said, and asked members to resume their seats.
“Has the government decided that House will not function? Will the
government not allow the House to function?” Mr. Jaitley asked,
pointing out that the Chairman has given him the permission to speak.
“Does the ruling party want that the House should not discuss serious
issues facing the country,” he posed. “We express anguish and protest
over murder of democracy both outside the House and inside the House.
They want to murder the right to protest,” he said.
Mr Jaitley said, the detention of the 74-year-old Hazare was a "murder
of democracy", triggering protests from Congress members..
The ruckus continued and Chairman Mr Hamid Ansari first adjourned the
House till 12 noon and later for the day.
The arrest united the opposition parties today with Marxists like Sitaram Yechury and other Left colleagues D Raja and Gurudas Dasgupta responding positively to Ms Swaraj's invite for a meeting to work out the parliament
Significantly, Samajwadi Party, which has been opposing Anna
Hazare's team hijacking the right to formulate laws, today
termed the arrest of the noted Gandhian as "unconstitutional" and said
he and his supporters should be released immediately.
"His detention is unconstitutional and if the government has any sense
left, Hazare and his supporters should be released immediately,"
party chief Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters outside Parliament here.
Mr Yadav faulted with the government and the Delhi police for picking
up Anna from his Mayur Vihar residence saying the 144CrPC was
not imposed in that area and also "there was no violence happening there".
The SP chief said the government's step has led to a situation where
"students, advocates and others have come on road to protest against
this in various parts of the country".
Asked if he supported Anna's movement, Mr Yadav merely "We have been
fighting against corruption and he is also doing the same."
The Samajwadi Party MP Mr Shailendra Kumar also attended a meeting of
opposition parties convened by Leader of the Opposition Ms Sushma
Swaraj where in a joint decision was taken to demand a statement from
the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the event.
RJD MP Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh also attended the meeting convenced
by BJP leader Ms Swaraj brushing aside his party's strong
opposition to BJP on various issues.
Earlier, in the day, the RJD supremo Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav strongly
ridiculed Anna Hazare and his team for trying to undermine the powers
of the Parliament. Counseling "patience" for the Team Anna when the
Lok Pal bill has already come before the Standing Committee of
Mr Lalu Prasad said "fast-unto-death should be the last resort" for any protest.
"We have seen Anna's Lok Pal draft and we have told him that we will
examine it. Anna should have patience," he told reporters.
Stating that perhaps Anna Hazare is being "misguided", he said the BJP
is "fully behind the Anna stir".
Asked whether he felt that RSS was behind Hazare, Mr Lalu Prasad
answered in the affirmative. "Yes, it is."
"Anna Hazare does not have have any organisation. There must be some
organisations which are behind him," he said.
However, he said, though everyone has the right to protest in a
parliamentary democracy, it is also important that supremacy of
parliament should be upheld.