Feel Like Resigning, LK Advani Said To Smriti Irani After Parliament Is Adjourned

Feel Like Resigning, LK Advani Said To Smriti Irani After Parliament Is Adjourned

BJP's LK Advani expressed severe disappointment at continuous disruption of parliament over notes ban

Highlights

  • If Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in Parliament, would be disappointed: Advani
  • With a day to go, only 4 bills passed in session that began last month
  • Centre, opposition failed to agree on vote after cash ban talk in House
New Delhi:

From his front row seat in the Lok Sabha, BJP veteran LK Advani again expressed distress today at the continuous disruption of parliament, invoking the party's gold standard Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister. As the House was adjourned for the day, the 89-year-old remained seated and urged home minister Rajnath Singh to speak to the opposition and try and restore order so that the Houses can run. If Mr Vajpayee had been in Parliament today, he said, "he would have been very sad."

"Disruptions are so disappointing that I wonder if I should resign from the Lok Sabha," Mr Advani said out aloud to union textile minister Smriti Irani, who drew the attention of Rajnath Singh, standing nearby.

The veteran parliamentarian suggested ensuring that the Lok Sabha runs tomorrow, the last day of the winter session, and said a discussion on the notes ban must be held. "If it does not happen and Parliament is adjourned sine die without discussion, it will be considered a washout," he said to lawmakers from the BJP and Trinamool Congress who had come up to greet him. Mr Advani had spoken about parliament disruptions to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar last week.

Welcoming Mr Advani's remark, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Thank you Advani ji for fighting for democratic values within your party."

Friday is a day for private member bills and no legislative agenda is usually taken up. Today, the last day for such work, parliament was once again overrun by noisy clashes between the government and opposition, with both Houses soon adjourned for the day.  

The winter session, which began on November 16, had 22 sittings and the government had listed 10 important bills to be discussed and passed, including crucial legislation related to the Goods and Services Tax or GST. With a day to go, Parliament had cleared only four bills in the session.

A debate on the note ban in the Rajya Saha or Upper House could not resume after the first day of the session and the Lok Sabha saw not a single full day of work as the opposition disrupted proceedings daily over their demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi explain in parliament his ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and its impact on the poor amid a massive cash crunch that has followed.

While the government has said that the PM is ready to participate in a discussion on the notes ban, the two sides have failed to agree on how to hold that discussion - with or without a vote at the end. Both sides have blamed the other for parliament not functioning.

"This is for the first time in the history of India that it's the ruling party that is not letting the House function," alleged the Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha.

"Parliament has started since November 16. Every day we used to ask Congress, TMC, Left to debate. But they were taking up rules and regulations, technicalities and were not ready to debate," said senior BJP leader and union minister Ananth Kumar.

"For God's sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business in Parliament," President Pranab Mukherjee told lawmakers in a strong rebuke earlier this month.