Petro prices fuel fire in Houses
New Delhi, March 3
Trouble started soon after the two Houses met for the day after a four-day break, with the opposition members demanding rollback of the price increase announced in the Budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on February 26.
The Opposition benches shouted slogans demanding rollback of the Rs 2.71 a litre hike in petrol price and Rs 2.55 per litre increase in diesel rates.
In the Lok Sabha, members of the NDA, SP and the RJD trooped into the Well to press their demand.
In view of the uproar, both the Houses were first adjourned till 12 noon soon after they met. Similar scenes were seen when the Houses re-convened at noon, leading to their adjournments till 2 pm.
In the Rajya Sabha, the opposition members took exception to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assertion while returning from Saudi Arabia on Monday that there will be no rollback, contending that it was a breach of privilege as he had made the statement outside Parliament though the House was in session.
“Instead of answering in the House, the Prime Minister chose mid-air to reject the demand (about rollback) made by the nation,” Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said. He was supported by Left members, with CPM leader Brinda Karat saying the Prime Minister’s statement had created a “lot of confusion”.
Referring to Singh’s contention that the increase in fuel prices would lead to marginal rise of 0.4 per cent in wholesale prices of products, Karat said it amounted to “rubbing salt to the wounds”.
Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan said there was no breach of privilege on part of the Prime Minister.
Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was not allowed to speak by the aggressive opposition members.
SS Ahluwalia (BJP) and D Raja (CPI) said the opposition would be ready to listen to Pawar’s reply but asked whether he would respond to the rollback demand.
Khan said Pawar would not speak on Budget proposals and also disallowed any discussion on fuel price hike, saying the members could speak on the issue during debate on the Budget.
In the Lok Sabha, members of BJP, JD-U, Left parties, SP, BSP and others were on their feet as soon as the House met for the day.
SP members trooped into the well and raised slogans. They were joined by BJP members who shouted, “Yeh sarkar nikammi hai (This government is incompetent)” and “jo sarkar nikammi hai, woh sarkar badalni hai (An incompetent government needs to be changed)”.
As the din continued, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till 12 noon. Similar scenes were witnessed when the House re-assembled, prompting Deputy Speaker Karia Munda to adjourn it till 2 PM.
Amidst noisy scenes, Munda ordered laying of papers listed for the day as also the matters to be raised through Special Mentions. — PTI