New Delhi / Karnataka row stalls Parliament

The Hindu : Jul 11, 2019, 10:16 AM

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that Karnataka Minister D.K. Shivakumar was not allowed to enter a Mumbai hotel because the rebel Congress MLAs lodged there feared for their safety.

Parliament was disrupted for the third day in a row over the political crisis in Karnataka.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned four times. In the Lok Sabha, the Opposition staged a walkout as they were not allowed to raise the issue.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said democracy was being destroyed in Karnataka, and accused the BJP and the Union government of hatching a conspiracy to overthrow the government in the State.

Slogans raised

As Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla did not allow Mr. Chowdhury to further speak on the issue during Zero Hour, Congress members came to the Well and started shouting slogans that democracy was being crushed in the State.

Mr. Joshi, meanwhile, displayed a letter written by the MLAs lodged in the Mumbai hotel, and said it was on their request that the police were guarding the premises.

“I would like to put this on record that the MLAs staying in a hotel in Mumbai have written to the City Police Commissioner that there is a threat to their life from Shivakumar,” Mr. Joshi said.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice before lunch. Congress members stormed into the Well after their demand for a debate on Karnataka was rejected by House Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu forcing an adjournment. When the House met at noon for Question Hour, Congress members were again on their feet.

Chairman’s plea

“This is not the way. The Question Hour is very important. So much money has been spent on this. The entire country is watching us,” the Rajya Sabha Chairman said, urging members creating the din to allow the House to function.

After the lunch break, the Rajya Sabha was set to start a debate on the Union Budget, but slogan shouting by Congress members forced an adjournment within five minutes. The House reconvened at 3 p.m.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked Congress MP P. Chidambaram to open the debate on the Budget, but he refused.

Then Mr. Harivansh asked Suresh Prabhu of the BJP to begin the debate.

Mr. Prabhu spoke for over 50 minutes amid pandemonium.

The House functioned till 4 p.m. It was decided that the debate on the Budget will be reinitiated on Thursday.