Treasury benches stall Rajya Sabha over Deshmukh issue

Shiv Sena walks out of LS as BJP MPs raise extortion allegation

Treasury benches in both Houses of Parliament raised the Ambani bomb scare case, flagging the letter written by former Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh accusing the Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of running an extortion racket on Monday. Rajya Sabha was adjourned for two hours due to the uproar while the Shiv Sena staged a walk out in Lok Sabha.

The protests began at noon in Rajya Sabha just when the Question Hour had started. BJP MPs stood up at their seats shouting slogans, against the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra.

“So far, it was only the terrorists who planted bombs, but in Maharashtra it is the police who are doing this,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar shouted out. The Question Hour went on for a few minutes amidst this din.

When Congress MP Chaya Verma stood up to ask Mr Javadekar, who also holds the portfolio of Environment Ministry, on the destruction of crops in various States due to wildlife, Mr Javdekar tried to speak about the Maharashtra issue, instead of answering her question. At this Deputy Chairman Harivansh, who was in the chair, adjourned the House for two hours.

Ruckus in Lok Sabha

In Lok Sabha, the Shiv Sena staged a walkout in protest as the Maharashtra issue was raised by at least seven MPs of the treasury benches (including one independent MP Navneet Rana) during Zero Hour.

BJP MP Manoj Kotak was the first to raise the issue demanding that Maharashtra Home Minister resign following the allegations made against him by former Mumbai Police commissioner Parambir Singh in a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. He was followed by another BJP MP Rakesh Singh stating that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders who had been saying that this was a serious issue till the previous evening were “singing a different tune” this morning.

“What has happened in the interregnum?” he asked. “Is it because the Maharashtra Home Minister has threatened to implicate other leaders of his party too?” he questioned.

Kapil Patil, Gireesh Bapat, Poonam Mahajan and P.P. Choudhary of the BJP also made similar allegations in the House.

In response, Vinayak Raut of the Shiv Sena said the background of the former Mumbai Police Commissioner needed to be known as well as who had appointed him.

“These allegations are part of a design to destabilise the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra,” he said.

Ravneet Singh Bittu of the Congress added that the running interference of Central agencies in the matter was clear and that the Centre wanted to destabilise the MVA government in Maharashtra just as it had destabilised the Madhya Pradesh government, installing a BJP government in its stead. The Shiv Sena walked out of the House at that point and the House took to debating the Insurance Bill.

Speaking during the Bill, however, Supriya Sule of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said it seemed to her that the Zero Hour had been rigged with multiple members of the treasury benches being allowed to raise the issue without allowing for her party to respond.

“Prime Minister Modi has said in the past that there were only two parties that didn’t rush to the Well of the House, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the NCP. It seems we are being punished for following democratic norms,” she said.

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