New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Monday took up a short duration discussion on Manipur, as opposition parties continued to protest in both houses of parliament demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The discussion, however, could not be taken up amid protests from opposition parties demanding Modi’s presence in the house.
Protests were seen in both houses of parliament through Monday as the government attempted to continue with legislative business amid the opposition’s protests.
Leader of the house in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal had said earlier on Monday that the Union government is ready for a discussion on Manipur at 2 pm. The Lok Sabha was adjourned within 15 minutes of convening as opposition members raised slogans demanding Modi’s presence in the house and a statement on Manipur.
In the Rajya Sabha, chairman Jagdeep Dhankar informed the house that he had received 65 notices asking for a discussion on Manipur under Rule 267.
When Dhankar asked the house whether he should read out the names of all the 65 members who had given notices, leader of the house Goyal stood up and said that there is no need to do so and accused the opposition of blocking the parliamentary process.
“They are trying to block parliamentary processes; they are trying to misuse the liberty given to all the honourable members,” the Union minister said.
“This is reflective of their mentality. When the government has already agreed to a debate on Manipur they have already spoilt nine important days of the house. The country is watching that the debate could have happened on the first day itself.
“Are they running away from debate? What are they trying to hide? Opposition should introspect. We want a discussion on Manipur even today right now under 176. There is no need to read any names . Let the proceedings begin and discussion take place at 2pm today,” he added.
When the house reconvened in the afternoon, Dhankar said that the government is ready for the short duration discussion.
As opposition MPs continued to raise slogans of “Pradhan Mantri sadan mein aao (Prime Minister come to Parliament)”, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi accused the opposition of not being serious about a discussion on Manipur.
“If they are serious about a discussion on Manipur let it begin. We are ready for the discussion right now. Whether they are serious or not let them tell the country,” he said.
Amid the din of opposition protests, the house was adjourned till Tuesday.
The Lok Sabha was also adjourned on Monday afternoon amid protests from the opposition. The lower house did, however, pass The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and took up The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Third Amendment) Bill, 2022 for consideration of Rajya Sabha amendments.
The monsoon session
The monsoon session has seen a deadlock between the opposition and treasury benches over the ongoing violence in Manipur.
While the opposition has stayed firm on its demand for a statement by Modi inside the House and a discussion under Rule 267 of the Rajya Sabha’s ‘Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business’.
The government, on the other hand, has only agreed to a short-term discussion under Rule 127.
The opposition’s position was reiterated by Congress chief and leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge when Dhankar asked him if he was ready for a discussion at 2 pm.
“I have already given a notice under 267 and this is the 9th or 10th day that all INDIA parties are giving notices to discuss Manipur. We want 267 (discussion). Many of our people have visited Manipur, we are requesting the PM to give a statement,” he said.
Members of the INDIA alliance visited Manipur over the weekend and highlighted the “pathetic” conditions in relief camps in the state which has been in the grip of ethnic violence since May 3.
The delegation has accused the BJP-led Union and state governments of failing to protect the lives of people and properties in Manipur, and claimed that over the last three months, more than 140 people were killed and 500 were injured, while around 5,000 houses have been burnt down and more than 60,000 people have been displaced.