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Opposition questions extending RS sitting ‘without’ following norms

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New Delhi: Opposition parties Wednesday slammed “bypassing” of rules and procedure in extending the current winter session by a day in Rajya Sabha saying the members were neither informed nor their consent taken for the move. Congress, TMC and AIADMK members cited rule book to criticise the extension.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh said that it may be considered his “personal lapse” and a “lapse in his understanding” in not conveying at the time of adjourning proceedings on Tuesday that the sitting of the House has been extended by a day.

He said the extension of the sitting of the House was on agenda of the BAC meeting of Tuesday after a request was received from the government.

 

BAC minuted acceptance of the request, he said adding when he on Tuesday adjourned the proceedings of the House till 11 am on Wednesday, it was “implied” that the sitting of the House has been extended by a day.

“If it was not communicated (in so many words), please consider it owing to my personal lapse and a lapse in my understanding,” he said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley conceded the rules provide for taking a sense of the House for extending the sitting but added “We don’t question the ruling of the chair.”

The government, on the other hand, maintained that the Chairman was within his rights to extend the sitting in view of important legislation, including the one to provide 10 per cent reservation in educational institutions and government jobs to poor from upper castes, pending.

When the House met for the extended one day on Wednesday, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) cited Rule 12 of Rajya Sabha to state that the sitting can be extended by the Chairman after making an announcement in the House and the change being published in the Rajya Sabha Bulletin.

“No announcement from the Chairman was made,” he said adding no one was questioning the power of the chairman to extend the session but that the rules were not followed.

He said the issue was an utter disregard of parliamentary procedures and the session being extended “illegally”. Anand Sharma (Cong) said no one is challenging the right of the government but that the House has to be run by rules.

No decision on extending the sitting of the House was taken at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting and no time was allocated, he said adding this is the first time that there is no dialogue between the government and the opposition on that matter.

It is the government’s responsibility to take opposition into confidence for the smooth running of the House, he said. “The Government has not taken the initiative to run the House.”

Sharma said it is the established practice in Rajya Sabha that no bill be brought without the scrutiny of parliamentary committees but this was not being followed.

Sensitive bills are being brought bypassing Parliament scrutiny and treating the House as a rubber stamp, he said. S R Balasubramoniyan (AIADMK) said rules provide for variations in the sitting of the House to be done by taking a sense of the House but that it was not done in case of extending winter session of the House by a day.

Jaitley said since important legislations were pending, the sitting of the House was extended.

“We don’t question the ruling of the Chair,” he said. The House had not functioned on normal days and so it was decided to have one extra day, he said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said members should have been concerned about half of the 20 days of the session being washed out in pandemonium.

It is the right of the government to change or increase sitting of the House, he said, adding the decision to extend the House was first taken at the BAC meeting and then the Chairman holding an informal meeting with leaders of opposition parties.


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National

‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley

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Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.

“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.

 

This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.

The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.

The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.

As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.

In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.

“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.

Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.

Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.

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Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram

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New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.

His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.

“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.

 

“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.

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No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat

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Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.

“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.

Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.

 

“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.

Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”

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