New Delhi, Aug. 6: The Rajya Sabha was witness to an unusual scene this afternoon: P.J. Kurien, who was in the Chair, being given a mouthful for going back on an “agreement” to adjourn the House.
The saga of serial adjournments began around 2pm with Telugu Desam MPs Y.S. Chowdary and C.M. Ramesh continuing their anti-Telangana protests for the second day. There was so much pandemonium that Kurien was left with no option but to adjourn the House after 10 minutes.
When the House reconvened, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath proposed that Rule 255 should be invoked against the Desam duo, under which they could be suspended for the entire session. But the House erupted, with AIADMK MP V. Maitreyan leading the charge. Again, Kurien was forced to adjourn the House.
During this 15-minute break, a meeting was apparently held in the chairman’s chamber. It was decided between Kurien, junior parliamentary affairs minister Rajiv Shukla and the Desam MPs that the duo would not be suspended but the House would be adjourned till 3.30pm when A.K. Antony was scheduled to make a statement on the Poonch incursion.
When the House reconvened for the third time, Kurien found Desam MP Ramesh standing in the well and the House in a semblance of order. So, instead of adjourning the House, he allowed Mayawati to speak on the Uttarakhand tragedy.
He urged Ramesh to respect the “honourable lady member of the house” and remain quiet. Mayawati managed to go through most of her speech without disruption.
Minutes before she was to finish, Maitreyan, Chowdary and Shukla walked in after their tea break. Maitreyan appeared shocked to see the House functioning and raised a ruckus, leading to the third adjournment.
During this break, an agitated Maitreyan was telling other MPs that he and Chowdary had reached an agreement with Kurien and Shukla that the House would be adjourned till it was time for Antony to speak. But Kurien had, in his view, “dishonoured” the agreement and allowed Mayawati to speak.
When the House reconvened, Maitreyan was immediately on his feet. “It was decided to adjourn the House till 3.30pm. This is breach of trust. The Chair cannot please just one person, they have to please everyone,” he said as Desam MPs backed him. He claimed Kurien had taken the protesting MPs for a ride.
To this, Kurien replied: “I crave for indulgence of the House since I am on the receiving end. I agreed to adjourn the House on the presumption that there would be disruption. But if the House is in order no one can compel me to adjourn it.”
Kurien said if there had been any miscommunication, he would not have any difficulty expressing “regret”. At this, BSP leaders protested that the Chair could not be seen apologising for doing his job. Kurien later asked that his statement be expunged.
The House was again adjourned, for the fourth time in two hours.