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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 July 2024

Rush to pass budget as Adani JPC call sharpens

Early closure of the budget session on cards as the logjam in Parliament shows no signs of ending

Our Bureau New Delhi Published 24.03.23, 03:23 AM
The finance bill remains to be passed, following which both Houses could be adjourned sine die before the scheduled April 6 closure, government sources said.

The finance bill remains to be passed, following which both Houses could be adjourned sine die before the scheduled April 6 closure, government sources said. File picture

The Lok Sabha on Thursday approved the budget without any discussion, amid loud protests by the Opposition demanding a joint parliamentary committee probe into the allegations against the Adani group.

In the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha, the Opposition members gathered in the Well of the House and raised slogans of “Modi-Adani bhai bhai” and “We want JPC”.

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The demands for grants for all the ministries were clubbed together and put to vote and passed amid the din.

The government’s rush to clear the essential business indicated early closure of the budget session as the logjam in Parliament showed no signs of ending with the Opposition firm on its demand for a JPC probe into the Adani affair and the ruling BJP adamant on Rahul Gandhi’s apology for his remarks against Indian democracy.

Now, the finance bill remains to be passed, following which both Houses could be adjourned sine die before the scheduled April 6 closure, government sources said.

Speaker Om Birla went for a guillotine, a process that allows the budget to be put to vote without any discussion, at 6pm as the Lok Sabha proceedings got stalled through the day.

The amendments moved by the Opposition were also put to voice vote in one go and dismissed.

Prime Minister Modi had not been seen in the House in the second half of the budget session that commenced on March 13.

As Modi entered the House on Thursday, the Opposition MPs rushed to the Well and started raising slogans.

After the demands for grants for various ministries were passed together in about 10 minutes and the House was adjourned for the day, Modi and some senior ministers met the Speaker in his chamber.

Sources said that apart from the impasse in Parliament, the possible disqualification of the membership of Rahul, convicted in a defamation case, appeared to have been discussed.

The BJP has said the decision on whether to disqualify Rahul would be taken by the Speaker.

Leaders of Opposition parties on Thursday took out a march on the Parliament premises to demand the constitution of a JPC to probe the allegations of fraud against Adani and the government’s purported involvement in it. Some of the leaders wore over their shirts posters in the shape of gowns and on which was written the demand for a JPC investigation.

The march started around 11.30am near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and ended near the statue of B.R. Ambedkar, about 100 metres apart. Congress leader Gourav Gogoi chanted slogans like “Adani Sarkar shame shame”.

Standing below the statue of Ambedkar, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the BJP government was not ready to accept the demand for a JPC even though the majority of the members of the committee would be drawn from the ruling party.

“There will be less representation of Opposition parties in the JPC. Yet they are not setting up a JPC. They do not want anything on Adani to come on record. They do not want transparency. They want to finish democratic institutions and the democratic process,” Kharge said.

He said the government had scant regard for constitutional methods. CPI Rajya Sabha member Sandosh Kumar P. told The Telegraph that the Opposition parties had decided to continue their protest in innovative ways inside Parliament.

“Rahul Gandhi is not a member of the Rajya Sabha. But the government is raising the demand for his apology over his statements. This is clearly a tactic by the ruling party to disrupt Parliament to prevent any discussion on Adani,” he said.

The upper House did not transact any business on Thursday. Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar had convened a meeting of floor leaders to break the deadlock, but it failed to reach a consensus.

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