Parliament adjourned for 11th day, MPs pay tribute to 26/11 victims (Roundup)

Friday, November 26, 2010

NEW DELHI - Sticking to the pattern of the last 10 days, both houses of parliament were adjourned Friday amid noisy scenes over the demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scam, though there was short-lived peace when MPs paid tributes to the victims and heroes of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

For a change, there were no protests in both houses when MPs reassembled Friday morning after 10 days of continuous disruptions and adjournments.

The proceedings in the Lok Sabha began with the swearing-in of Putul Kumari, the newly-elected MP from Banka in Bihar. She succeeds her husband and former union minister Digvijay Singh, who died recently.

Speaker Miera Kumar then read out a message paying tribute to the 166 people - civilians and security personnel - killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack two years ago.

“Today is the second anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks… We reiterate our resolve to fight terror,” she said in her message.

MPs also observed silence in memory of the victims.

In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Hamid Ansari read out the homage as members of the upper house silently remembered the victims of the dastardly attack.

But the peace in both houses couldn’t last for too long. Soon after, the ruckus began - a repetition of the scenes of the past 10 days - with the opposition and ruling benches levelling allegations and counter-allegations of corruption.

The opposition stuck to their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G Spectrum allocation scam even as the government maintained a clear “No” to it.

As the opposition protests erupted in the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar adjourned the house first till 12 noon and when the members reassembled, Deputy Speaker Karia Munda adjourned it for the day as the uproar continued.

In the Rajya Sabha too, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the house till noon following similar protests. The chaos continued when it reassembled, and Deputy Chairman Rehman Khan adjourned the house till 2.30 p.m.

The Rajya Sabha even witnessed a scuffle between the DMK and AIADMK, after a member from the former party displayed a placard against AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa.

The upper hours was later adjourned for the day.

Both houses will meet again Monday now in the wake of a two-day weekend off.

Hardly any legislative business has been conducted in parliament since the winter session began Nov 9.

Opposition members are demanding a JPC to probe alleged irregularities in the 2008 allocation of second-generation mobile telephony spectrum that is said to have caused huge losses to the national exchequer.

The 11 successive days of adjournment translate into a loss of a staggering Rs.84 crore with the expenditure for each day of a session calculated at Rs.7.8 crore. Congress MPs have decided not to take their daily parliamentary allowances of of Rs. 2,000 for the winter session.

The say the principle of no work, no pay should be followed.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal told reporters that several MPs from his party have conveyed to him that they did not want to take their daily allowance.

“Though this is an individual decision, Congress MPs have decided that they will not take their daily allowance from Nov 10 till the end of this session. The loss to the exchequer due to disruptions in parliament is very painful. We should follow the principle of no work, no pay,” Bansal said.

Each MP gets Rs.2,000 per day when parliament is in session. The party has 207 MPs in the lower house and 71 in the Rajya Sabha.

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