Parliament deadlock over Rafale deal persists
The deadlock in Parliament over Rafale fighter jet deal continued on the seventh consecutive day as the Congress stalled the proceedings over its demand for a JPC probe on which the government kept mum, saying it was ready to discuss the controversial deal.
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day minutes after its proceedings began. The Lok Sabha managed to do some legislative business amid uproar and was finally adjourned for the day after witnessing two adjournments in the pre-lunch session.
However, amid disruptions by the Congress, the AIADMK and the TDP on different issues, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 that ensures effective regulation of surrogacy and prohibits commercial surrogacy was discussed and passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha.
"I can't solve it. You have to discuss the issue. Please go back to your seats," Mahajan said requesting the AIADMK members, but they did not relent.
Throughout the proceedings, Congress members kept raising their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the purchase of 36-ready-to-fly Rafale fighter jets deal. The AIADMK members were protesting Karnataka's proposal to construct a dam across the Cauvery at Mekadatu.
Telugu Desam Party members, too, protested near Speaker's podium demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh.
Earlier the House witnessed two adjournments.
"Serious apprehension of irregularities have appeared in the Rafale deal. The matter needs to be investigated and accountability needs to be fixed. That's why we are demanding a JPC probe," he said.
He said the Supreme Court has given its judgement based on a letter provided by the government.
"Kindly allow a JPC probe. Kindly ask the government to initiate a JPC probe into the matter," Kharge said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar responded that the government was ready for a discussion on any issue, including the Rafale deal, but maintained silence over the demand for a JPC probe.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, too, said the government was ready for any discussion on Rafale.
Communist Party of India-Marxist MP Mohammad Salim accused the government of lying in Supreme Court on the defence deal and supported the Congress' demand for a JPC probe.
Trinamool Congress' Sudip Bandopadhyay said his party wants the House to run. He urged the Speaker to convene a meeting of the leaders to break the deadlock.
Amid the din, an AIADMK member tore a piece of paper and threw it in the air near the reporters' table.
Soon after Mahajan adjourned the House till 2 p.m.
It failed to transact any business.
The Congress members sought an apology from the government for misleading both the House and the Supreme Court on the acquisition and pricing of Rafale jets, while others trooped near the chair holding placards to demand a JPC probe into the deal.
The AIADMK and DMK members protested on the Cauvery issue.
Naidu said he would look at the records to "verify" the claims.
The Congress members loudly objected to Goel's allegation and many of them were on their toes.
They trooped into the Chair's podium raising slogans.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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