NEW DELHI: The ongoing political crisis in Karnataka rocked both Houses of the Parliament on Tuesday. Congress members protested in the Lok Sabha raising slogans, before entering the well of the House and, eventually, staging a walkout. The Rajya Sabha, too, witnessed repeated disruptions, with Congress members storming the well, forcing chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and deputy chairman Harivansh to call off the proceedings twice, before the House was finally adjourned for the day.
Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad said an adjournment motion notice was given to the chairman under Rule 267. “The Congress has forty-eight MPs in Rajya Sabha and we had given a notice to the chairman to raise the Karnataka issue in Rajya Sabha, but the chairman did not allow it. We will raise the demand again in the House once it reassembles," Hariprasad said.
For the second day in a row, Congress raised the issue in Lok Sabha.
The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government plunged into a crisis during the weekend, after over a dozen legislators put in their resignations. Till Tuesday evening, 14 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs), have resigned, including 11 from the Congress and three from the JD(S).
The Congress accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of orchestrating the resignations of MLAs. On its part, the BJP has reiterated that it had no role to play in the development and it was the Congress’ internal affair.
The political slugfest over the Karnataka crisis now threatens to impact proceedings and productivity of the ongoing monsoon session, particularly in the Upper House, where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is still in a minority. Similar scenes were witnessed during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, which saw high-decibel protests from the Congress members. They shouted slogans on “saving democracy" and to “end the politics of poaching". “This House belongs to everyone, but please do not turn this into a shouting match. This is a forum for debate and discussion," Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla told members.
“You are aware of what is happening in Karnataka. This politics of poaching should end. Today, it is Karnataka, tomorrow it can be Madhya Pradesh," said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress’ leader in Lok Sabha.
Following his comments, the Congress staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha. “They cannot keep their home in order and are disrupting the House here," Union minister Rajnath Singh said.
The protests by the Congress party in Lok Sabha saw a number of young leaders taking the lead, though the top leadership, including former party presidents Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, were present in the House.
While the Rajya Sabha was adjourned without much legislative work being done, the Lok Sabha held several hours of discussion on the Union budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week later in the day. Several senior leaders from across political parties spoke on pressing issues mentioned in the budget for the second day.
The disruptions in both Houses could be a cause for worry for the ruling dispensation, which is keen on pushing through its legislative agenda. Keeping this in mind, the ruling BJP has issued a three-line whip to its Lok Sabha members to ensure their presence in the House on Wednesday. The ongoing budget session of Parliament ends on 26 July.