As Opposition MPs remained steadfast in their demand for a more extensive discussion on the northeast state, Monday’s third day of the Monsoon Session was a washout with many adjournments. After numerous adjournments and violent scenes over the Opposition’s demand for a more extensive discussion on the devastating unrest in Manipur, both Houses of Parliament were interrupted on Monday.
The government was prepared for a discussion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha in the afternoon. “I request the Opposition to let a discussion take place on this issue. It is important that the country knows the truth on this sensitive matter,” Shah said. However, the unyielding opposition parties demanded that Manipur be considered in accordance with Rule 267, which halts all work in order to discuss a particular issue. In contrast, the administration wants to consider it for a shorter amount of time in accordance with Rule 176. This idea has been opposed by opposition parties.
For “repeatedly violating” the Chair’s instructions, Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Sanjay Singh was suspended from the Rajya Sabha by chairman Jagdeep Dhankar during the Monsoon Session. On Monday, Dhankar was given 27 notices to discuss Manipur under Rule 267. Sanjay Singh criticized the Prime Minister for his silence following his suspension, claiming that “the wife of a Kargil warrior was paraded naked.” “The country’s Army, its 140 crore people are ashamed of this, yet the Prime Minister is not ready to come to the House. We will continue our protest at the Gandhi statue (in the Parliament complex),” Singh stated.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress’s leader in the Lok Sabha, claimed that “sky will not fall if the Prime Minister comes to the House for a discussion on Manipur, given the seriousness of the matter”. He added that the whole world was talking about Manipur – “from Europe to the US”. “This is not a matter of the Home Ministry alone but that of the entire country. So, we suggest the PM himself come to the House,” Chowdhury said.
Leader of the Shiv Sena (UBT), Priyanka Chaturvedi, questioned why Manipur’s condition couldn’t be controlled by the government and suggested that Prime Minister Modi address the matter in Parliament. “It has been more than 80 days and violence is still not decreasing… Isn’t the PM answerable? He gave a 36-second statement outside Parliament, but he is not addressing the Parliament. Why has the chief minister not been sacked yet? Why has the home minister failed in controlling the situation? Why is the Women and Child Development Minister not visiting Manipur,” she asked. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of being insensitive. “Our demand is that the PM make a statement in the House. We are ready to discuss that statement. You are speaking outside but not inside, this is an insult to Parliament,” he stated.
In the evening, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi claimed that the BJP was preventing the Prime Minister from addressing in Parliament and only desired a symbolic discussion on Manipur. “They want to treat Manipur as an ordinary law and order issue. They want a regular discussion which can be curtailed at any time by the Chairman or the Speaker. Instead of a broad-based discussion… (not allowing) us to ask the Prime Minister why he has not visited Manipur, why he is allowing this (state) government to continue… we won’t be allowed to raise this before him and hear his answers,” he stated. The Monsoon Session, which started on July 20, will go through August 11.