Opposition Congress members on Wednesday again disrupted proceedings in Rajya Sabha over the Karnataka crisis and accused the BJP of trying to destabilise the party's coalition government in the state. Congress members were up on their feet as soon as listed papers and obituary reference were made but a stern message from Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu made them retreat.
Soon after Congress members stormed into the well of the House, forcing Naidu to adjourn proceedings till noon. At the start of proceedings, Naidu said he has not admitted notices by Congress members including Kapil Sibal under rule 267 seeking suspension of rules to take up their issue. "Let us not put democracy in danger," he told agitated Congress members. As they continued to protest, he said, "You don't want to allow democracy to function here?" This prompted members to take their seat and the House took up Zero Hour where submissions of urgent public important are taken up.
Barely had four members made their Zero Hour submission when Congress members were up on their feet again, seemingly bolstered by the presence of their deputy leader Anand Sharma. Sharma, who was not present in the House at the start of the proceedings, sought to raise the 267 notice given by his party colleagues but Naidu said the ruling of the chair is final.
"If any member has any problem, he can come and see me (later)," he said. As Congress members moved into the well of the House shouting slogans, Naidu said, "You are taking of defections, have affection for this House." "Horse trading band karo (Stop horse trading of MLAs)," Congress members shouted from the well as Naidu ordered that nothing they say would go on record.
"Please allow democracy to function," he pleaded. I cannot allow this in House." "What is defection (and) affection) is for the Speaker (of the State Assembly) to decide," he said before adjourning the proceedings. On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha could not transact any business due to repeated adjournments forced by the Congress.
The year-old Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition government in Karnataka is on the brink of collapse after a spate of resignations by MLAs. The Karnataka Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member Assembly is 113. Naidu said the ruling of the chair is final and this is what was followed during previous Chairmen as well.
As Congress members shouted slogans against the BJP, Naidu said he has in the past expunged references to the ruling party, Congress, Left and others when they were objected to. Bhupender Yadav of the BJP said only matter related to the Government of India can be raised in the Rajya Sabha. How can indiscipline in the Congress be allowed to be raised in the House, he said.
Earlier, when the House met for the day, it mourned the death of its former member R Ramakrishnan. Ramakrishnan, who represented Tamil Nadu in the Upper House from June 1980 to June 1986, passed away on July 7 at the age of 73.