Rajya Sabha fails to transact business for 16th day

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

"We don't have courtesy even for retiring members," Naidu remarked as he asked protesting members to go back to their seats.

NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha could not bid farewell to 40 retiring MPs today or transact any business for the 16th day in a row as Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House for the day after AIADMK members protested over the Cauvery water issue.

After laying of listed papers, the chairman said the House should bid farewell to retiring MPs.

However, AIADMK members entered the Well of the House shouting slogans and carrying placards and were soon joined by the TDP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the House.

"We don't have courtesy even for retiring members," Naidu remarked as he asked protesting members to go back to their seats.

As his appeal went unheeded, Naidu asked both Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley: "Are we so helpless?".

To this, Azad said the House should function.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affair Vijay Goel also appealed to protesting MPs to let the House function. He was seen persuading V Maitreyan of AIADMK to give up the protest and let the farewell process begin.

As the AIADMK and the TDP did not relent, Naidu adjourned the House for 15 minutes and asked leaders of different political parties to meet him in his chamber.

When the members reassembled, Naidu again appealed for peace in the House.

"This is a very important occasion...40 members are retiring. We want to give them farewell," Naidu said, asking members to give the farewell in a "peaceful and dignified" manner.

As the ruling Tamil Nadu party continued protest, Naidu said there were two options. One is to name the protesting members and take action against them, or adjourn the House and deprive retiring members from sharing their experience.

Maitreyan sought intervention of the prime minister on their demand for immediate setting up of the Cauvery river water management board.

"We are raising Tamil Nadu issue," Maitreyan said. To this Naidu quipped everybody was concerned about Tamil Nadu which is "part of Bharat Nadu".

However, the AIADMK did not yield.

An angry Naidu then adjourned the House for the day leaving opposition parties surprised.

After the adjournment of the House for the day, Azad was heard urging members to remain seated in the House. Most of the opposition members, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remained seated in the House till 12 noon.

Members from treasury benches too were in the House for quite sometime after the Chair had called it a day.

Union Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley was seen holding discussion with several opposition members, including Azad.

Earlier, when the House was adjourned for 15 minutes, most members and also the Prime Minister remained seated in the House. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh walked up to NCP cheif Sharad Pawar to exchange pleasantries.

Several members both from the opposition as well as treasury benches were also seen discussing issues with the prime minister.

BJP MP Roopa Ganguly was seen taking the prime minister's autograph on a book.

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