Conversion row may delay Insurance Bill

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 16, 2014 Published on December 16, 2014

MPs in the Rajya Sabha protest during the Parliament’s ongoing winter session in New Delhi on Tuesday. - PTI

‘No business will be allowed in the Upper House until PM makes a statement’

The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha seems to be using the religious conversion controversy to scuttle the passage of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill. The Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal (United) and Left parties have said that no business will be allowed in the Upper House until Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a statement on the issue.

Government’s stand

The Government, on its part, flayed the Opposition for running away from a debate on the issue. “The issue is that you want anarchy, not a discussion,” Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

Earlier, Opposition members continued to protest even though Jaitley rose to make the Government’s stand clear on the issue. The Opposition members said the Prime Minister should honour his word to Parliament that no one will be allowed to disrupt the communal fabric of the country.

The Congress said the Government is not allowing the Opposition to express its views. Members of the Treasury benches were also seen raising slogans against the Opposition for disrupting the House.

No word of honour

“The assurance given by the Prime Minister to the House has been violated. The Prime Minister should come and explain as to why his words are not being honoured. Why have Members of Parliament from his party violated the assurance given by the Prime Minister,” Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma said.

He said it was clear that the Government does not want the House to function.

“If they want, we are willing to listen to the Leader of the House. But, at the same time, there should be a discussion on this explosive and emotive issue,” he added.

The Deputy Chairman, PJ Kurien, criticised the behaviour of Opposition MPs.

“It is for the first time that the Leader of the House is not being heard,” Kurien said. The issue of a CBSE circular to schools on organising programmes on the Christmas Day was raised in the Upper House for the second day.

While CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury laid a copy of the circular on the table of the House, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien moved a privilege motion against Jaitley alleging that he misled the House by saying that there was no circular on the Christmas holiday.

“The HRD Ministry denied that notifications were issued to instruct schools to remain open on December 25, 2014, which was informed by Jaitley in the House. Jaitley said that ‘the report was factually false’,” O’Brien’s notice said. Jaitley said he was willing speak on the matter, but was not allowed to do so by the protesting Opposition members.

The issue came up in the Lok Sabha too.

Congress member KC Venugopal said he was willing to table a circular sent to all CBSE schools on celebrating “Good Governance Day” by holding various competitions.

The Speaker, however, did not allow him to raise the matter. The House was disrupted briefly over the issue forcing an adjournment for about an hour.

Published on December 16, 2014
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