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Rajya Sabha on the boil over Gaza as Ansari rejects govt plea against debate

New Delhi, Jul 17 (PTI): The Gaza situation rocked the Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive day on Thursday with a determined opposition demanding an immediate discussion even as Chairman Hamid Ansari said the matter can be taken up at a later date while rejecting the government's plea against a debate.

Giving his ruling on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's request made on Wednesday, Ansari said, “I am unable to accede to the request of the Minister” and cited rules in favour of the notices given by the opposition in this regard.

Swaraj had opposed any debate on the issue arguing it is not admissible as it is not primarily concern of Government of India and any discourteous remark could affect India's relations with Israel and Palestine.

”I do not find any infirmity in the notices given by the Leader of the Opposition and others,” Ansari said, referring to the demand by the opposition for a debate.

In another ruling, he accepted the plea of Leader of the House Arun Jaitley that the issue be not taken up for discussion on Thursday and the government will communicate an appropriate date for the same soon.

”Accordingly, in view of the provisions of rule 177 read with the communication received from the leader of the House, the short duration discussion on Palestine has not been listed in today's agenda paper,” Ansari said.

Citing rules, he said, the “the subject having been already admitted, now requires consultations with the Leader of the House to fix the next date and time for discussion.”

Not finding the issue listed in Thursday's business of the House, infuriated opposition members were up on their feet and in the aisles vociferously demanding that the important issue be taken up today itself.

Questioning the Chairman's ruling, opposition members said he had no authority to change the agenda and an item listed yesterday had to be taken up first today.

The Upper House saw three adjournments in the pre-lunch session - two during Question Hour and one in Zero hour.


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