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Rajya Sabha adjourns twice after verbal duel between Opposition and ruling BJP

Heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches in the Rajya Sabha over modalities for a discussion on the Lalit Modi controversy, today forced two adjournments of the House without transacting any business.

While opposition led by Congress pressed for suspension of business to discuss the issue and seek the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for allegedly trying to help the controversial former IPL head Lalit Modi, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley rebutted it saying the notice given by Anand Sharma (Cong) only sought a discussion without any condition or caveat like resignation of any minister.

The treasury benches ruled out the resignation of any minister and said the government was ready for discussion on the issue, while the Opposition demanded that Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje should quit on the issue. They also sought resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam.

The ruckus led to adjournment of the House till noon for the first time, and again till 2 PM as similar scenes continued.

Soon after obituary references were made and papers laid on the table, Sharma and other opposition members including Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) and Naresh Agarwal (SP) said they had given notice under rule 267 for suspension of business to take up discussion on the issue.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said notices under this rule had been served earlier this week as well demanding discussion and subject to condition that some ministers should resign.

“Your condition or caveat is something that I cannot implement… I know your notice was with condition but that condition is not within my powers to implement. I can only take note of what is within my powers, that is discussion,” he said.

The opposition members rose in protest to press their demand, which was strongly opposed by BJP members.

At this, Kurien said “if discussion is not happen, what is the point of this.

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