The Congress on Friday persisted with its demand of clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his allegations against predecessor Manmohan Singh, forcing the Rajya Sabha to be adjourned for the day and trying to disrupt proceedings in the Lok Sabha.The Congress has been raising the issue in both Houses of Parliament ever since the winter session began last Friday.In Rajya Sabha, where the Congress has a considerable strength, it forced an adjournment in less than half an hour after the house met, saying it will be allowed to function only after the issue of allegations against Manmohan Singh and others is resolved. As soon as the papers and reports of various committees and statements were tabled in the house, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that the house be adjourned. "You had formed a committee to end this logjam. One meeting has taken place (between the government and Congress MPs) but no solution has been reached. But talks are on."Since this is the last day of the working week and there is not much business, my request to you is to adjourn the house till this impasse ends. If a solution is found by the evening, well and good. Even we want that the house should run. We don't want to stall it by coming into the well (towards the presiding officer's podium)," he said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel urged the opposition members to allow the house to run. "Talks are going on to end the impasse. Hope it will be fruitful. Let the house function. This is not such an issue which cannot be resolved. I request you to allow the house to function," he said.But Congress member Anand Sharma urged the Chairman to adjourn the House till a solution was reached. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu, having failed to persuade the opposition to relent, adjourned the upper house till Wednesday. Modi, during campaigning in the Gujarat Assembly polls, had claimed that during a dinner at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's house, the guests, including Manmohan Singh, discussed the state polls with Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood and former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.In the Lok Sabha, the Congress members tried to disrupt the proceedings by coming near the Speaker's podium and shouting slogans. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan however continued with the Question Hour and then the Zero Hour amidst Congress protest.Later, when the Lok Sabha took up discussion on the aftermaths of Cyclone Ockhi, in which 74 people lost their lives and as many as 214 went missing when it struck Tamil Nadu and Kerala last month, the Congress members joined in.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of deploying seven teams of NDRF in Gujarat while deploying four in Kerala and three each in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.Demanding an enquiry into the matter, he also pulled up party leader Shashi Tharoor for praising central government's efforts as "extremely helpful".Most of the members who spoke over the issue sought from the government to announce the cyclone as national disaster and demanded more compensation. The government however refused to declare it as a "national calamity" though acknowledging the cyclone was "rare and extraordinary".