Government and Opposition lock horns over Rafale aircraft deal, Cauvery issue
For the seventh consecutive day, the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were washed out over a war of words between the government and the Opposition on the Rafale aircraft deal and protests by Tamil Nadu parties over the Cauvery issue.
Minutes after the Upper House convened for the day, Congress members trooped into the Well holding placards seeking a joint parliamentary committee investigation into the Rafale deal. They joined members of the AIADMK and the DMK who have been trooping to the well over the Cauvery issue ever since the winter session began on December 11.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Goel demanded that Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma withdraw the remarks made by him in the House on Tuesday. Mr. Goel said Mr. Sharma had wrongly quoted him to say that he had demanded an apology from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on the Rafale issue. He said he was fully aware that Mr. Gandhi was not a member of the House and had only asked for an apology from the Congress following the Supreme Court ruling on the Rafale deal. He said the government was ready for discussion on all issues including the Rafale deal.
As the slogan shouting from both sides continued, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said, “It is very clear that none of you want the House to run.”
Kerala flood relief
“I don’t want this [ruckus] to be seen by the people,” he said, adjourning the proceedings for the day.
Earlier as the House met, Mr. Naidu mentioned that 97 Rajya Sabha members contributed over ₹36.5 crore from their MPLAD funds for relief and rehabilitation works in flood-ravaged Kerala. Also, 60 MPs contributed their one month’s salary, totalling ₹58.69 lakh, towards the same cause.
Mr. Naidu appealed to members to contribute generously for the relief and rehabilitation of Kerala flood victims.