Friday, February 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ruckus in House over RSS
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 24 — The Opposition, led by the Congress, today stalled proceedings in both Houses of Parliament and forced their adjournment for the day after they insisted that the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha give precedence to a discussion on their adjournment motion on the decision of the Gujarat government allowing government employees to participate in RSS activities.

The Opposition members, especially those from the Congress, inspired by a sit-in staged before the Gandhi statue inside the Parliament complex by the party President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, were on their feet the moment the Lok Sabha assembled for the day and raised slogans demanding that the House drop the Question Hour and instead take up their adjournment motion.

The Speaker, Mr G.M.C.Balayogi, rejected the Congress-sponsored adjournment motion, which led to vociferous protests from the Opposition benches. The House was then adjourned till 2 p.m. It was finally adjourned for the day after it reassembled as the Opposition members were in no mood to relent.

The Rajya Sabha too, was adjourned twice, once in the morning till 2 p.m. and again after a 40-minute sitting in the post-lunch session, during which the members expressed resentment over the alleged lathi-charge on lawyers today.

Despite din in the Lok Sabha, the Speaker was able to get the listed reports tabled, including that of the Subrahmanyam Committee which went into the events and circumstances leading to Kargil incursions by Pakistan.

In the morning, as soon as the House assembled, there was pandemonium with Opposition members led by the Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Sonia Gandhi demanding suspension of the Question Hour and taking the motion straightaway.

The Speaker’s ruling rejecting the demand infuriated the Opposition with members from the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party rushing to the well of the House raising anti-RSS slogans.

Slogans like “RSS hatao, Desh Bachao (Remove RSS and save the nation)” rent the air even as some members demanded a ban on the organisation.

The Speaker’s request for order and that he would allow a discussion on the issue during the Zero Hour went unheeded and commotion continued .

Calm was restored for a while when the Speaker welcomed a visiting Parliamentary delegation from Morocco led by its Prime Minister, Abderrehmane Youssouffi, who was seated in the special box.

The moment the Speaker completed the welcome speech, the Opposition members were once again on their feet and sensing the mood of the House, Mr Balayogi adjourned the House.

The scene in the Rajya Sabha was more or less similar when it assembled in the morning. The Opposition led by the Congress made a similar demand that the Question Hour be suspended and the discussion on the RSS issue given precedence. Congress leader, Dr Manmohan Singh, sought to move a motion under Rule 267 for the suspension of Question Hour, which was strongly opposed by the members of the ruling party.

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