Saturday, March 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Slogans, abuses in Parliament
Unrelenting Opposition stalls proceedings
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 16
Parliament proceedings continued to remain disrupted for the third day today despite the resignation of the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, and other leaders with a determined Opposition vociferously demanding the resignation of the Vajpayee government following the disclosure of corruption in defence deals.

As per the strategy, the Opposition parties did not allow both the Houses to function for more than five minutes, and the slogan-shouting members were in the well even before the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were called to order. Even members from the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies were in the well, flashing papers relating to the Bofors gun deals.

Failing to make the members return to their seats, respective presiding officers Krishan Kant and G M C Balayogi adjourned the Houses to meet on Monday.

The trouble, as yesterday, was not limited to the two Houses but the members crossed swords even outside the building after both the Houses adjourned.

Slogans and abuses were hurled by MPs of both the ruling and Opposition parties with such vigour that the words were barely audible.

A thin line of security men tried to tear away the rival Parliamentarians fearing a physical attack.

“Sonia, Quattrocchi ka paise hai, Tehelka jhoota hai” (the money is Sonia’s and Quattrocchi’s, and Tehelka is a fraud), shouted the ruling NDA members referring to the dotcom company which had exposed some fictitious defence deals that had led to the resignation of Defence Minister George Fernandes yesterday.

In the Rajya Sabha, the entire Opposition was on its feet, raising slogans calling for the ouster of the government, ignoring Mr Krishan Kant’s repeated pleas to maintain order.

In the Lok Sabha, almost 50 members from all sections of the House were in the well and raising slogans even before the Speaker entered, though senior members of the Congress were conspicuously absent as they are in Bangalore for the party’s session. The only prominent Congress member in the well was Mr Buta Singh.

The agitated members also put a damper to the government’s hope that the Opposition would relent in view of the resignations of Mr Bangaru Laxman, Defence Minister, George Fernandes and Ms Jaya Jaitley and the announcement of a high-level probe in to the matter.

While members of the Opposition shouted “Gali gali me shor hain, Vajpayee chor hain” (there is noise in street that Vajpayee is a thief), and NDA members screamed back “Sare sadan ka ek saval kahan gaya Bofors ka maal”(there is only one question before the House — where has the kickbacks of Bofors gone?).

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