Rajya Sabha disrupted over Modi, coal files

New Delhi: Proceedings in Rajya Sabha were repeatedly disrupted on Wednesday due to uproar over demand for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s resignation and missing coal files, on which BJP targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The House was adjourned four times in the pre-lunch sitting because of slogan shouting from both ruling and the opposition benches.

As soon as the House met for the day, some Congress members were on their feet displaying banners that read “Chief Minister Gujarat Must Resign” in the wake of charges levelled by suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara.

Vanzara, who resigned on Tuesday, has accused Narendra Modi government of having failed to protect the jailed police officers who fought against “Pakistan-inspired terrorism”.

To counter the Congress members, BJP MPs led by Ravi Shankar Prasad raised the issue of CBI investigating officer reportedly wanting to question the Prime Minister in connection with the controversial coal block allocations when he held the charge of coal ministry between 2006 and 2009.

SP members raised the issue of giving reservation in promotions in government jobs. BSP members too shouted slogans but nothing could be heard in the din. TDP members raised banners against division of Andhra Pradesh.

Chairman Hamid Ansari asked members to take their seats and called for laying of papers. “No banners please,” he said.

With members in no mood to relent, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

When the House reassembled, SP members trooped into the Well shouting slogans for reservation in promotions. BSP members too joined them in slogan shouting.

Adding to the din, BJP members raised the issue of missing coal files.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurein, who was in the Chair, then adjourned the House till noon.

The situation was no different when the House reconvened at noon.

Kurien tried to take up the Land Acquisition Bill, but Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) kept raising the issue of missing coal block allocation files.

Alleging that the Prime Minister was “economical with truth”, he charged him with trying to “cover-up” in his statement in Parliament on Tuesday.

Prasad said the Attorney General had written to the Coal Secretary to produce the missing coal files within two weeks, which Singh did not mention in his statement.

Noting that the House has also a role in ensuring that accountability is maintained, Prasad said, “Yesterday the Prime Minister made a statement. He did not take any clarification from us. He did not say that AG had written to the Coal Secretary to produce the files. The PM ought to have said that…the PM was economical with truth, when he made the statement.”

He said it was a very serious matter that the “House was misled”.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla, however, strongly defended the Prime Minister saying, “There is no question of cover up. The Prime Minister made it clear in his statement that investigation is going on. He assured (the House) that all efforts will be made to locate each and every file.”

As the Opposition members did not relent and kept shouting slogans against the government, the treasury benches countered them by demanding Modi’s resignation over charges levelled by Vanzara.

Kurein, who was in the Chair, adjourned the House till 12:30 PM.

When the House met again, similar scenes were witnessed, forcing the Chair to adjourn it till 2 PM.

Even after the House was adjourned, slogan shouting and acrimonious exchanges between the two sides continued for some time. (PTI)