Parliament winter session: Rajya Sabha adjourned for fifth day over Rafale, Cauvery
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday following protests by AIADMK and DMK members over the Cauvery water issue and the Congress’s demand for a privilege notice against the government for allegedly misleading Parliament and the Supreme Court on the Rafale jet deal.
As the House assembled for the sixth day of the Winter Session, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu informed members that various notices on urgent matters, ranging from cyclones affecting lives in some states to price rise and agriculture crisis, have been admitted for discussion. He appealed to members to let the House function, and said he was going through a privilege notice given by the Opposition.
However, soon after the papers were laid on the table by ministers, members from the AIADMK and DMK trooped into the Well carrying placards and started shouting slogans against construction of a dam on Cauvery river. Some members from Andhra Pradesh were also seen displaying placards, demanding special status for the state.
Amid slogans, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the privilege motion against the government on the Rafale deal should be accepted. He alleged that the government had misled the House and the Supreme Court on the issue, triggering loud protests from the treasury benches.
Naidu said the Chair should be allowed to take a view on the privilege notice.
The Congress had given the notice demanding an explanation from the government on why it provided the Supreme Court “wrong” information on purchase of Rafale aircraft from a French company. In response, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said the government is ready to discuss all issues, including Rafale. Goel demanded apologies from the Congress in the wake of the apex court’s refusal to order an SIT probe into the Rafale deal and Sajjan Kumar’s conviction in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. As slogan-shouting by AIADMK and DMK members continued in the Well, Naidu adjourned the House until 2 pm.
When the House resumed in the afternoon, Naidu proposed to discuss a calling attention of the Minister of Home Affairs on cyclones. But senior Congress leader Anand Sharma raised a point of order, saying that MoS for Parliamentary Affairs had referred to Rahul Gandhi and it is against the rule to demand his apology because he is a member of the other House. Soon after, the ruling party member started shouting slogans and demanded an apology from Rahul, while AIADMK and DMK members trooped into the Well over the Cauvery issue.
Naidu said there is no point of order in the matter and asked the member to discuss serious issues, mainly related to farmers.