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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

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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