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Parliament Disrupted Over Telangana, JPC 2G Report

Proceedings in Parliament were washed out for the second consecutive working today as Opposition members created pandemonium on a host of issues including JPC report on 2G, Telangana, price rise and death of children in relief camps for Muzaffarnagar (UP) riot victims.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha could not function normally as they witnessed slogan-shouting by members. Due to the uproar, Lok Sabha was adjourned twice and Rajya Sabha thrice before final adjournment. Both the Houses could not transact any substantial business.

Trouble started as soon as both the Houses assembled for the day with members of BJP, Telugu Desam Party, Left and BSP creating ruckus over various issues.

In both Houses, BJP members were on their feet and protested against the changes made by JPC Chairperson P C Chacko in the panel's report on 2G scam, which gave clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Pandemonium was witnessed in the Rajya Sabha as the JPC report was tabled by Congress member Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu.

While members of BJP, Left and TMC opposed the tabling of the controversial report, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien ruled that the 'Terms of Reference' contained in the motion of the JPC had no provision which permits a discussion on its report adopted duly by the committee.

Deputy Leader of BJP Ravishankar Prasad, who was a member of the 30-member JPC, raised a point of order to allege that his dissent note had been altered and wondered whether the matter should not be debated in the House.

Quoting a rule from Article 105 of the Constitution, he said he had the right to administer a note of dissent as a member of the panel.

"I had given a strong dissent note...The guilty have been left...The report should not be tabled," Prasad said. 

Strongly backing his colleague on the issue, Leader of the

Opposition Arun Jaitley said he invites a ruling from the Chair whether the Chairman of a Parliamentary panel can delete only some unparliamentary words or "can alter the substance of the dissent note given by a member."

"Substance of the dissent note given by members of the House has been altered by the Chairman. Please give us a ruling. Whether it is permissible," he said.

Kurien said that while the Leader of the Opposition has raised a "valid point", the Chair is unable to make any comment as it has not seen or read the report.

As BJP members trooped into the Well shouting "Shame, Shame," Kurien adjourned the House till 2 PM.

Similar scenes were witnessed when the House reassembled with DMK and AIADMK members also protesting against the JPC report. After five minutes, the House was adjourned for the day. Amid the din, two bills were introduced.

Besides JPC report, some other issues were also raised by other members.

Members of Samajwadi Party were on their feet on the issue of rise in prices of essential commodities, while TDP members opposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

In the Lok Sabha, notices for a no-confidence motion could not be taken up due to uproar over a host of issues including Telangana and JPC report on 2G scam.

Three separate notices were given yesterday by six Congress members from Seemandhra region, TDP and YSR Congress, as part of their attempt to stall division of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana.

Speaker Meira Kumar said she had received the notices but maintained that House should be in order so that the issue could be considered. 

Seemandhra MPs, including YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, vociferously protested creation of Telangana and demanded a united Andhra Pradesh.

Along with them, BJD members alleged discrimination towards cyclone-hit Odisha by the Centre, while DMK members were in the Well opposing the training of Sri Lankan Navy personnel in the country.

Left members trooped into the Well with placards demanding inquiry into role of ministers in the Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal. TMC members, whose party is in power in the state, countered this charge by walking into the Well and raising slogans.

BJP members were on their feet and protested against the changes made by JPC Chairperson P C Chacko in the panel's report on 2G scam.

BSP members also stormed the Well and displayed newspaper report clippings on the death of 40 children in relief camps for Muzaffarnagar riot victims.

Kumar's repeated attempts to bring order in the House went in vain. Though some agitating members returned to their seats, they were soon back in the Well which prompted her to adjourn the House for the day.

In view of the ruckus, no business could be taken up for the second consecutive working day.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Digression

1/D-126
Dec 10, 2013
02:46 PM

JPC cover up adds to PM’s embarrassment

The Parliament had appointed a JPC to examine the matter of allocation and pricing of telecom and spectrum. The report of the JPC, approved by a slender majority, was laid on the table of Rajya Sabha today. The conduct of the Congress party and the UPA government makes it clear that they have failed to learn the lessons from the results of the recently held assembly elections. The strategy is to first indulge in acts of corruption and then subvert constitutional institutions in order to cover them up.

The principal issues that the JPC had to examine were with regard to –

( 1.) Whether Spectrum allocated in 2008 could be given at 2001 prices?

( 2.) Whether the goalposts could be shifted in relation to the procedure by which the Spectrum had to be allocated?

( 3.) Whether the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister were in the know of and privy to the decisions taken by the then Telecom Minister?

The Majority Report bypasses most of these issues. On the contrary it has devoted large sections of the Report to blame the NDA government. Obviously, the report will carry no credibility. The JPC, which went into the BOFORS Case invented a theory that commissions paid to the middlemen were not kickbacks but winding-up charges. The CBI charge sheet negated this theory. The Parliamentary Committee, which went into the Cash-for-Vote scam blamed the Opposition MPs. The trial court has now held that they were whistleblowers and had committed no offence. If we want that the dignity of the Parliamentary institutions be maintained, we must ensure that the truth surfaces and not be covered up.

The note of dissent given by the Opposition MPs to the Chairman of the Telecom JPC has been edited. Today, I raised an issue in the Rajya Sabha, whether the Chairman of the Committee can only edit superfluous or Un-Parliamentary references made in a note of dissent, or can he change the substance of the dissent note that was submitted? By doing so, the Chairman has committed a breach of privilege. I invited a ruling from the Chair on this issue? Regrettably no ruling came.

The only consolation I have is that the Government stands exposed. The Emperor is without clothes. Even a Parliamentary cover-up through a JPC will not save it of the embarrassment.

www.arunjaitley.com/en/my-opinion-inside.php

Mohan, Kutch
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