New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) For the second consecutive day, the Lok Sabha on Friday ran its full session amid uproar over various issues, with lawmakers allowing discussion on President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir and the government introducing the Jallianwala Bagh Bill.
A host of private Bills were also taken up.
With the beginning of the Zero Hour after the first adjournment in the Question Hour, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked the members to lay papers to conduct the business of the House and wished Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his birthday.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar introduced the Jallianwala Bagh National (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh moved the statutory resolution for discussion on proclamation issued by the President on December 19 under article 356 of the Constitution in relation to Jammu and Kashmir.
The House passed the resolution approving proclamation of Presidents Rule even as the opposition parties objected and termed it “unconstitutional”.
After the passage of the resolution, Mahajan allowed a brief discussion, saying although it has been passed and already been adopted, she was allowing a discussion on it as a “special case”.
Initiating the debate, Shashi Tharoor of Congress said the state was put under Governor’s Rule without any floor test.
“It was done despite the fact that Congress, the PDP and the National Conference had come together to form the government. Why did the Governor not conduct a floor test in the Assembly?” he said.
He also sought to know from the government whether the Governor gave reasons in writing as required by the Supreme Court in the S.R. Bombai case and asked the government to share the reasons with Parliament.
TMC’s Saugata Ray also opposed the President’s rule terming it arbitrary, unconstitutional and demanded immediate election in the state.
NCP’s Supriya Sule said the government should explain the reason behind imposition of President’s rule. She said it came at a time when there was good voting in panchayat elections.
CPI-M’s Mohammed Salim demanded installation of a popular government in the state and hit out at government of its “ill-thought and misleading policy” on Jammu and Kashmir.
Intervening in the debate, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh explained the political situation in the state that led to the imposition of President’s Rule.
While speaking over the issue, the Minister blamed former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, saying if he had not interfered in the functioning of Sardar Patel (then Home Minister), the situation would have been different in the state.
Singh launched a veiled attack on Congress calling it a “rasoighar ki party (party of kitchen)”.
Singh said the reason to implement President’s rule in the state was that no party came forward to stake its claim to form government there.
Explaining the political situation in the state that led to the imposition of President’s Rule, he said that the BJP formed a coalition with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) amid a fractured mandate.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist also raised a demand in the House to immediately pass the long pending Women’s Reservation Bill and also staged a protest outside Parliament.
The demand raised by CPI-M’s P.K. Sreemathi Teacher during the beginning of the Zero Hour got support from parties including the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and others.
BJD’s Bhratruhari Mahtab supported the demand.
A.P. Jithender Reddy of the TRS supported it and demanded that the Bill be passed at the earliest.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has also written to the party’s chief ministers to have a resolution passed by their respective Assemblies on one-third reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, was introduced in Parliament in May 2008 by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, but lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.
The Bill seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
“Women’s presence in the Lok Sabha remains 11.7 per cent and 11.4 per cent in Rajya Sabha. The state Assemblies display a similar gender imbalance. As Speaker, you have also spoken in defence of the Bill, including women’s rights to minimum representation in the highest decision-making bodies,” CPI-M’s P.K. Sreemathi Teacher said.
“We appeal to you for a Bill on this issue that has been pending since over 20-25 years. I request the Prime Minister and other ministers to pass the bill immediately,” she added.
BJD’s Bhratruhari Mahtab supported the demand.
“Our Chief Minister (Naveen Patnaik) has written letters to the presidents of 27 political parties and the chief ministers seeking their support for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill. I support what Teacher has said and request you to find time to have discussion in this session,” he said.
Before the House met in the morning, CPI-M members also protested in the Parliament House Complex near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in support of the Bill.