In Rajya Sabha, Congress wages a lone battle on the Karnataka issue

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 10, 2019 Published on July 10, 2019

The Congress on Wednesday fought a lone battle in Rajya Sabha on the arrest and detention of the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad for a brief period in Bengaluru.

An unrelenting Centre insisted on continuing with the debate on the Budget and the Congress had to hold a series of informal meetings with BJP leaders to finally get the House adjourned on such a ‘sensitive’ issue. The Congress also had to agree to participate in the discussion on Thursday, starting from 11 am, cancelling the Zero Hour and the Question Hour.

Though the members of the Samajwadi Party and Left parties did not join the Congress members in raising the issue, the parties walked out saying that the Budget discussion is being held in din.

As former Finance Minister P Chidambaram didn’t initiate the discussion,the Chair invited BJP leader Suresh Prabhu to start the debate. Prabhu spoke for about 45 minutes, braving attempts by Congress members to disrupt his speech.

Budget discussion

After discussions with the Congress, the Leader of the House Thawarchand Gehlot announced that the Congress wanted the presence of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the debate. “We have agreed to continue the discussion on Budget tomorrow from 11 am. (Congress deputy leader) Anand Sharma has urged the Finance Minister be present in the House during the debate. There is an understanding on this,” Gehlot said.

Sharma said members of his party were protesting on a sensitive issue and an organised debate will be held on Thursday. “My party and the Opposition are serious about the discussion on Budget. I have requested the Finance Minister to be present in the House. Tomorrow, let there be an organised debate and I request the Chair to adjourn the House for the day,” he said. He, however, did not say anything on the developments in Karnataka, for which his party MPs were in the well.

Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the Centre may have to extend the session if the Opposition does not cooperate. “Let them (Congress) say whatever they want on the Karnataka issue or any other State issue, but at least allow the the Budget discussion to continue. After that we have many bills, otherwise, it will be inevitable to extend Parliament beyond July 26. I appeal to them earnestly to allow the Budget discussion,” Joshi said.

Published on July 10, 2019
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