Protests over Rafale, Cauvery water stall Parliament on Day 2

The two Houses of Parliament were on Wednesday adjourned without transacting much business as the opposition staged protest on a variety of issues, including Rafale jet deal, Ram temple and Cauvery river water. Wednesday was the second day of the Winter session. On the first day on Tuesday, both Houses were adjourned after paying obituary to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and union minister Ananth Kumar.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day just after noon following protests by opposition members on various issues including the Rafale deal, construction of Ram Temple and Cauvery river water. Immediately after the House re-convened at noon, Congress, Shiv Sena, TDP and AIADMK members trooped into the well with placards and started shouting slogans in support of their demands.

Similar scenes were earlier witnessed when Question Hour began after obituary references to former MPs. Congress members were demanding a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the alleged corruption in the Rafale aircraft deal while Shiv Sena MPs staged protests demanding immediate construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. AIADMK MPs raised slogans demanding justice for Tamil Nadu farmers living along the Cauvery delta and TDP members demanded a railway zone at Vishkhapatnam. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to pacify members but in vain. As the ruckus continued, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice in the pre-lunch period and for the day around 2.15 pm as the two main political parties of Tamil Nadu — the AIADMK and DMK —staged protests on the Cauvery river issue. The Upper House was first adjourned till noon soon after laying of papers and then again till 2 pm soon after the Question Hour started at 12 pm.

Amid noisy scenes, The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed.

The proposed amendments entail fixing the term of the chairperson of the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism and other Disabilities.

Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Social Justice and Empowerment minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said a chairperson could not be appointed even after several attempts since 2012 as a suitable candidate meeting the stringent selection criteria could not be found. Gehlot said the amendments will ease the procedure related to appointment of a chairperson.

As the protests continued, Parliamentary Affairs minister Vijay Goel said: “This Bill is for the disabled and there is a consensus among all parties. I am requesting all parties to pass it.” The Bill was passed in the Upper House shortly before the House adjourned.