Both chambers disrupted by rising fuel prices

For the second day in a row, both Houses of Parliament witnessed disruption in the proceedings on Wednesday due to the sharp rise in fuel prices and were adjourned for a time during the first working hours.

In Rajya Saba, agitated members displayed signs and shouted slogans demanding the suspension of other business to discuss the trek. The Lok Sabha proceedings were also adjourned for around 20 minutes as opposition members protested against soaring oil and cooking gas prices and staged a brief walkout from the house.

Rajya Sabha President, M Venkaiah Naidu, rejected the suspension request and said members could raise the matter in further discussions on the grant application. He also did not authorize the suspension under Rule 267 when Opposition Leader M Mallikarajun Kharge tried to raise the issue.

Sensing the mood of the house, Naidu then adjourned the proceedings for nearly an hour shortly after 11:00 a.m. when the house gathered for the day. Question time then went well.

The Congress, Left and Samajwadi Party leaders wanted their views admitted under Rule 267, requiring the public business of the day to be set aside to address the issue of rising petrol prices, diesel, LPG cooking gas, kerosene and other essentials such as pulses and edible oils.

Ramgopal Yadav (SP), Mallikarjun Kharge, Shaktisinh Gohil, Syed Naseer Hussain and KC Venugopal (all from Congress) and Binoy Viswam (ICC) had given notices under Rule 267.

In the Lok sabha, at the start of question time, members of Congress, DMK, TMC and other parties stormed the house well, held up signs “janata ki roji roti par prahar” and showed the price of cooking gas rising to Rs 1000. They kept shouting “we want justice” and sought to block the view of ministers by placing signs in front of them.

Opposition members began the protest shortly after the House convened for the day. Members of TRS, BSP and SP also joined the protest but remained in their seats.

The most vocal members of Congress were seen at the forefront of the protest and remaining in the home well. Amid the chaos, Speaker Om Birla has repeatedly urged MPs to return to their seats and allow the House to function.

The opposition refusing to give in, he adjourned the debates until noon.

Speaking from the Treasury benches, Union Trade Minister Piyush Goyal alleged that the opposition had no commitment to the development of Jammu and Kashmir and that its “discrimination” against the territory of the Union continued as before.

Goyal made the allegations to Lok Sabha after a Jammu and Kashmir MP, Hasnain Masoodi, was unable to ask a supplementary question during Question Time due to protests and opposition slogans over rising fuel prices.

“It shows their (opposition’s) commitment to Jammu and Kashmir. The Congress and its allies have been discriminating against Jammu and Kashmir for years and they are doing the same thing even now. They do not allow an MP of Jammu and Kashmir to ask a question,” said Goal.

However, the relentless opposition continued their protests in the house well.