M A I N   N E W S

MPs bicker over price-rise
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 15
Opposition and Left parties today stepped up pressure on the government on the issue of spiralling prices of essential commodities in the country on the opening day of the second part of the Budget session in Parliament, forcing the adjournment of both Houses for the day.

While in the Lok Sabha the price rise issue spelt trouble right from the very beginning, in the Rajya Sabha protests started soon after the new members were sworn in.

Though the government said it was ready for a discussion on the issue, the BJP, the Left and the UNPA members paralysed proceedings in the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha voicing their anger on inflation that touched a three-year high of 7.41 per cent on the week ended March 29.

In the lower House pandemonium began soon after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh introduced his new council of ministers. Members of the Opposition, as well as Congress ally Left raised an uproar on the spiralling prices of essential commodities.

Shouting anti-government slogans, the Samajwadi Party stormed the well of the House, charging the government with its inability to control inflation. Some of them also demanded the resignation of the government on its failure to keep prices under check. As Samajwadi Party members stormed the well shouting slogans like “joh sarkar nikaami hai, woh sarkar badalni hai”, members from the BJP and its allies in the NDA and the Left were also up on their feet, protesting on the issue

In the commotion that followed the lower House had to be adjourned twice - first for half-an-hour till 11.30 am and the second time for the day as slogan-shouting members continued to remain on their feet. As they relentlessly shouted slogans, a visibly angry Speaker asked Lok Sabha officials to note down names of those indulging in sloganeering.

Even though the Speaker tried to pacify the members, warning them of proper action if they failed to take their seats, the uproar continued. “Those who are raising slogans will be dealt with properly. I am not going to permit any such thing,” Chatterjee said before adjourning the House till 11.30 am.

After the Lok Sabha reassembled there was uproar once again on the issue. It was amid the din that the Speaker read out a message from President Pratibha Patil, acknowledging the members’ motion of thanks for her address to the joint sitting on February 25.

It was a similar story in the Upper House where Opposition and Left members began protests after 50 newly elected members took oath. “Price rise is the only question”, BJP member Murli Manohar Joshi said as soon as chairman Hamid Ansari announced the start of the question hour.

Soon after the newly elected members of the House were administered oath, members belonging to the NDA, the Left parties and the UNPA raised the issue of rising prices, stalling the proceedings of the House. When members ignored the repeated pleas, the House was adjourned for the day.




Differences stall CCP meet

New Delhi: Amid sharp differences between ministries of Commerce and Finance over measures to control spiralling steel prices, the government today postponed the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Prices.

The CCP was scheduled to meet today to delve on measures, including imposing an export duty and lowering excise on steel to check prices.

According to sources, the meeting has been postponed as the Finance Ministry is not in favour of reducing excise duty on steel fearing loss of revenue. — PTI



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