Need Ghar Wapasi for PM, Where is He, Asks Opposition

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Need Ghar Wapasi for PM, Where is He, Asks Opposition

"Will the PM be available for discussion or not?" Left leader Sitaram Yechury asked in Rajya Sabha over the issue of religious conversions.


New Delhi:  A united opposition confronted the government in Parliament today over a huge controversy over mass conversions to Hinduism. The Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, was thrown into disarray with opposition lawmakers demanding the Prime Minister's presence for a discussion on the issue. The House was later adjourned for the day amid loud protests.

"Will the PM be available for discussion or not?" asked the Left's Sitaram Yechury. "PM Modi also needs a 'ghar wapasi' (homecoming), we have hardly seen him in Parliament," said Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, invoking the term used by right-wing Hindu groups to describe conversions.

"The opposition only wants to protest, does not want any work to get done," retaliated Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu. The Upper House was adjourned till noon.

The impasse threatens to derail the government's agenda of clearing major economic reforms, with just four days of the current session remaining.

Yesterday, angry lawmakers stormed the well of the Rajya Sabha forcing its shutdown for the day. They demanded the PM make a statement on reports of poor Muslims being coerced into converting to Hinduism.

"The House will not run until the prime minister comes for discussion over the communal incidents and forced conversions issue," Derek O'Brien, from the regional All India Trinamool Congress, told reporters.

The government wants to pass a bill to open the insurance sector to foreign investment.

It has also managed consensus with state governments on taxation reform by introducing a national sales tax.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley wants to table a constitutional amendment for the introduction of the long-awaited goods and services tax (GST), to replace a myriad of overlapping state duties that deter investment.

An affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, has been accused of converting 50 Muslim families last week in Agra.

Some of the families have alleged they were promised ration cards and other financial incentives if they went ahead with the conversions.


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