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Logjam persists in Parliament as Shah urges Oppn to allow truth to come out on Manipur issue; AAP MP Sanjay Singh suspended

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New Delhi:  Home Minister Amit Shah asked the opposition on Monday to allow a debate on the Manipur issue to begin in Parliament but the deadlock persisted in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as both sides refused to budge from their stand, with Congress and its allies insisting on a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi first.

Relentless protests from opposition members marred proceedings in both the Houses and Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, one of the more vocal voices in Rajya Sabha, was suspended for the rest of the Monsoon session for repeatedly “violating” the directives of the Chair.

The suspension came after Leader of the House Piyush Goyal moved a motion in this regard and it was adopted by the House by voice vote. Before that, Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar named Singh for his “unruly behaviour” and cautioned him.

Opposition parties condemned the action against Singh and accused the government of trying to throttle their voice.

With protests ruling the day inside both Houses despite attempts by Dhankhar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to end the impasse, charge and countercharges flew thick and fast outside Parliament as the two sides targeted each other.

Since the session began on July 20, little work has been done in Parliament. Opposition members have seized on the viral video of two women stripped and paraded by a mob from another community in the violence-hit state to corner the government.

While the government has expressed its willingness to a debate on the situation in the BJP-ruled state, the opposition has made a statement from Modi a precondition for any discussion on the issue, accusing him of insulting Parliament by speaking to the media on the matter and not in either of the Houses.

As slogan-shouting by opposition members, many of whom were in the Well, continued in Lok Sabha, Shah spoke briefly, questioning their intent despite his willingness to debate.

The government has said that the Home Minister will reply to any such debate on the Manipur issue.

“I am willing for discussion in Lok Sabha on the situation in Manipur but do not know why the opposition does not want it,” Shah said.

He said opposition leaders should allow a debate, saying it was important for the truth to come out before the country on the Manipur issue.

As opposition members continued their protest, demanding that the prime minister give a statement first, Speaker Om Birla adjourned the proceedings for the day.

The MPs of the BJP as well as Opposition staged protests near the Mahatma Gandhi statue to highlights their demands.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge accused Modi of insulting Parliament by choosing to speak on the Manipur issue not inside the House but outside. It is a serious matter and the prime minister must speak inside when the session is on, he said.

The incidents in Manipur over the last several weeks have shamed the country, and the Union government has been extremely insensitive in handling the issue, Janata Dal (United) president Lalan Singh said, calling for a statement from Modi in Parliament.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi earlier accused opposition members of deliberately scuttling a discussion on the sensitive issue. BJP members also raised the issue of attacks on women, including the victims being disrobed and raped, in states like West Bengal and Rajasthan to get back at opposition parties.

“The Opposition should not make excuses. The PM has already made a statement on Manipur with sensitivity and firmness ahead of the session. It is wrong that we don’t start the discussion at all by making an excuse in the name of PM,” Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said.

With the BJP parliamentary party holding its weekly meeting on Tuesday, its senior leaders, including Modi, may speak on the ongoing logjam.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP sources said, has spoken to opposition leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress, in an attempt to break the impasse but in vain.

Rajya Sabha Chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar also held a meeting with opposition leaders from the Upper House, including Jairam Ramesh, BRS’ K Keshava Rao, BJD’s Sasmit Patra and AAP’s Raghav Chadha, in this regard as well.

In Lok Sabha, the government succeeded in transacting some legislative business amid uproar, with three Bills introduced and one withdrawn.

While the government withdrew the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019, it introduced the National Dental Commission Bill, 2023, the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill, 2023 and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Earlier in the day, as soon as the Lower House met at 11 am, opposition members from the Congress, DMK, Left parties and others were on their feet.

Speaker Om Birla allowed Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to speak.

Chowdhury said Modi should make a suo motu statement on the floor of the House on the violence in Manipur.

Birla said the House is ready for a discussion on the Manipur violence and the debate could be started after 12 noon as the time fixed for the Question Hour from 11 am should not be disturbed because many important issues are raised by the members.

“The whole House is ready for the discussion and the government will reply to the debate too. But you will not decide who will reply to the debate,” the Speaker said.

Defence Minister Singh, who is also the deputy leader of Lok Sabha, reiterated his statement made on Friday that the government is ready for a discussion on the Manipur violence.

The opposition members were holding placards that read “INDIA wants discussion on Manipur violence”, “INDIA for Manipur” etc.

INDIA is the name opposition parties have chosen for their alliance.

When the Upper House of Parliament reassembled at 3 pm, Deputy Chairman Harivansh noted that Sanjay Singh despite being suspended was still in the House.

The chairman reminded the AAP MP to leave the House so that  Rajya Sabha could function.

Various opposition members protested against Singh’s suspension and wanted to raise points of order which was disallowed by the deputy chairman.

With opposition members continuing to raise slogans against the government on the Manipur issue, he adjourned the House for the day.

Singh had rushed to the well of the House and was pointing at the Chair while seeking a discussion on Manipur when he was cautioned. The Aam Aadmi Party leader, however, continued to protest in the House even after he was suspended and Rajya Sabha was adjourned.

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