Ice-breaker Advani

Veteran tries to end logjam

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 23.03.18
 L.K. Advani

New Delhi: The government on Thursday started reaching out to Opposition leaders to break the deadlock in Parliament, acting after BJP veteran L.K. Advani tried to intervene on his own to break the ice after 14 days of almost no business in both Houses.

"I have sought time from the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad. I will also meet leaders of the TDP, AIADMK and the TRS, who are protesting in the House, to break the deadlock. The government wants to run Parliament and pass important bills," junior parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Goel said.

This was after Advani had personally reached out to protesting Telangana Rashtra Samiti members and even met Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Visibly upset at the Lok Sabha getting adjourned repeatedly, the BJP veteran was seen calling TRS MPs and asking them why they were not allowing the House to run.

"Advaniji was very upset why the House was not running and wanted to know why we are protesting. We explained to him our demand," the party's leader in the House, Jithendra Reddy, said.

Reddy continued: "He asked us why we didn't meet the Prime Minister. We told him that our chief minister had met the Prime Minister thrice and we MPs met Rajnath Singh and also the Speaker. We told him that we will suspend our agitation if the government gives an assurance that our demand would be considered."

After this Advani went to meet the Speaker and urged her to talk to the government to find a solution.

"Advaniji came and told us that the Speaker had assured him she would talk to the government. We will suspend our agitation once the government assures action on our demand," Reddy said, stressing that the BJP senior had agreed that their demand was justified.

The TRS is demanding a constitutional amendment to allow Telangana to provide reservation beyond 50 per cent in state government jobs, like Tamil Nadu and some other states.

After this the government tried to show urgency and said it had sought time from all major leaders to allow Parliament to run. "We are ready for any discussion, including a no-confidence motion. The government has nothing to fear as we enjoy the mandate of the House and also that of the people of the country," Goel said.

The Lok Sabha was again adjourned for the day and the no-confidence motions rejected on the ground of disorder in the House. The Speaker said she was unable to count the heads supporting the no-confidence motion moved by the TDP and the YSR Congress because of protests in the well of the House.

The Opposition questioned this pretext that the Speaker has used to disallow admission of the no-trust motions. "I am compelled to say that when the Speaker says she cannot count the numbers supporting the motion, the camera is there. Every inch of the House can be covered from all angles. Why does she not use the camera visuals to do the necessary headcount? Also, why is Lok Sabha TV not showing what the Opposition is doing? It is deliberately not showing the Opposition benches, then the people would know who is actually disrupting the House," CPM MP and politburo member Mohammad Salim said.