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President’s Address passed without debate
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 10
The short session of Parliament today ended on a bitter note with the Opposition refusing to budge from its demand for dropping "tainted ministers" even as they allowed the adoption of motion of thanks for President Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's speech to the joint sitting of both the Houses.

The motion was adopted following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's suggestion that it be put to vote straightaway as "all political parties on both sides" have agreed to pass the motion through a voice vote.

"I learn there is understanding on both sides that the motion be put to vote straightaway and passed unanimously," the Prime Minister said while making brief remarks in both the Houses.

In the Lok Sabha, as soon as the House assembled for the day, agitated members of the BJP and its allies raised slogans demanding the "tainted ministers" be dropped from the Union Council of Ministers.

As the din continued, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reply to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President's speech. Only two members, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal and Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia (both from the Congress) had spoken when the motion was moved two days ago.

With the Prime Minister suggesting the motion be put to vote without any debate, the Speaker put to vote all amendments that the House "negatived". The House then adopted the motion thanking the President for his Address.

The Speaker adjourned the House sine die thereafter.

The short pre-budget session, the first of the 14th Lok Sabha, was marked by uproarious scenes with a determined Opposition demanding the "tainted ministers" be dropped from the Council of Ministers.

Not much business could be transacted during the session.

In the Rajya Sabha also, the motion was adopted by a voice vote after all amendments were withdrawn. Before adjourning the House sine die, Chairperson Bhairon Singh Shekhawat asked members to adopt a process of dialogue to come out of "situations of obstruction and interruption".

"Let us through dialogue and building mutual trust and understanding find ways for the smooth functioning of the House, without having the need for interruptions or adjustments," Mr Shekhawat said.

Expressing concern that the President's Address could not be discussed, the Chairperson hoped that the next session would see less acrimony.

"I do hope the heat of summer will be over soon and by the time we meet again in the monsoon session, the environment will have turned pleasant and be full of harmony and understanding," he said. Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee said the conduct of the Opposition was a sign of refusal to accept the people's verdict.

"There are precedents of Opposition boycott and disruptions of the President's Address. But this is for the first time that the Opposition has disrupted the discussion on the President's Address immediately after the General Election," Mr Mukherjee said after the adjournment of the House today.


NDA flayed over no debate
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 10
A majority of the members of Parliament have described the adoption of motion of thanks on the President’s Address to the joint session of Parliament last week without a debate as “unfortunate and a negative development for democracy”.

Minister of State for Communications Shaqeel Ahmed said the adoption of motion without a debate was not only in “bad taste” but also a “threat to democracy”.

“The NDA has not been able to stomach the fact that it has been dislodged by the Congress-led UPA government. It is their frustration,” Congress MP from Dausa (Rajasthan) Sachin Pilot told newspersons here.

By interrupting the proceedings, the Opposition had made it virtually impossible to transact any business, he said. The CPM described as unprecedented and a threat to democracy the passage of the motion of thanks on the President’s Address without debate.

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