NRC issue rocks Rajya Sabha again

Opposition protest leads to adjournments; Rajnath Singh unable to give his reply

Continued protests by the Opposition parties against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam led to another round of adjournments in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh consequently could not give his reply to the debate.

Point of order

Soon after the proceedings started, Congress members expressed anguish at BJP leader Amit Shah’s remarks about former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during the NRC debate on Tuesday. Congress leader Anand Sharma, backed by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, raised a point of order and insisted on the removal of certain comments.

Mr. Sharma alleged that Mr. Shah had termed all Prime Ministers since the Assam Accord in 1985 “cowards.” That list would include Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well, he said. This triggered a sharp reaction from the treasury benches.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu told Mr. Sharma that the issue would be looked into. He asked Mr. Shah to conclude his statement. But as soon as Mr. Shah stood up, several Congress and TMC members rose to lodge their protest. The Chair then adjourned the House till noon.

TMC protest

Post lunch, TMC member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy raised a point of order as Mr. Shah was asked to conclude his statement. The Chairman said he had allowed the BJP member to speak, but Mr. Roy wondered how he could do so twice. TMC members then gathered in the Well of the House.

“You spoke…. you had your say, it has gone on record. Now you come and disrupt the House. So you don’t want to hear the reply,” said Mr. Naidu, as he once again asked Mr. Shah to speak. Mr. Shah said he did not want to deny the Chair the opportunity calm things down.

Mr. Naidu then asked the Home Minister to reply. However, amid unrelenting slogan-shouting, Mr. Singh sought permission to table his speech. The Chairman then adjourned the House for the day.

(With PTI inputs)

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