New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Wednesday allowed MPs to debate on whether the house should allow the adjournment notices, which entail voting, moved by opposition members over the rising prices of essential commodities. An adjournment motion is seen as an instrument of censure against the government’s policies.
After a brief commotion and protests by a united opposition, Meira Kumar said she was allowing the members who had given her adjournment notices to speak under ‘special circumstances’.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj was the first to justify her notice saying ‘it was cent percent according to the house rules’.
‘The adjournment motion that entails voting means stopping all other businesses, and discuss an issue of urgent importance that has occured recently. The notice I have given has raised has two points. Recent hikes in (the prices of ) kerosene and the cooking gas,’ Swaraj said.
The June 26 price hike has poor men of the country into ‘grave hardships’, she said. ‘This is recent and needs urgent attention and calls for stalling all other business to be discussed on top priority.’
She said the opposition wants to ‘censure’ the government over its wrong pricing policies. ‘We don’t want talk out. We want a debate followed by the voting. Adjournment motion signifies the importance of the issue… This is a censure motion. This is to censure the government. The government won’t fall. But we definitely want to censure this government because they are troubling the common man.’
She said the opposition was united in the sentiment
‘You have to decide on allowing the adjournment motion and I request you to please give us a chance to,’ the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh said the opposition was ‘expressing the sentiments of the people as 85-90 percent of the population are suffering due to rising prices ‘.
‘People are dying due to starvation,’ he said, supporting the adjournment motion.
Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) said the opposition didn’t want the government to fall. ‘We want to stop rising prices. We want to jolt the government out of a slumber.’
After listening to the viewpoints of the opposition and the government, the speaker will decide whether the issue calls for an adjournment motion that entails voting.
Since the voting is not on a money bill, the government would not have to resign if the motion is passed. It would, however, be a huge embarrassment for the government.
In the Rajya Sabha the matter would be tricky for the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The government and its allies can count on 89 members and the opposition on 104 in the upper house. However, the swing votes of 51 members belonging to parties like the Samajwadi Party, the RJD and the BSP, as also smaller parties and independent and nominated members, could make a difference.
The three parties have, in the past, sided with the government, but given the general anger over the price rise within and outside parliament, they could well decide to vote with the opposition to ensure the adjournment motion passes.