The Rajya Sabha resumed its discussion of the Union Budget on Friday afternoon, after being adjourned twice earlier in the day following sloganeering by some members. Before it resumed proceedings at 2.30 pm, members from Andhra Pradesh had disrupted the House with protests against the Budget.
Earlier, the Lok Sabha was adjourned till March 5 after proceedings were repeatedly disrupted by protests and sloganeering, mainly by leaders from Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party.
Friday is the last day of the first leg of Parliament’s Budget session. The second session will begin on March 5.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned minutes after the Question Hour session began. After a few questions about nutrition guidelines, midday meals and anganwadi centres, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had to adjourn proceedings after Telugu Desam Party leaders trooped into the well of the House demanding a special package for Andhra Pradesh. The MPs have been protesting for over a week against the government for allotting very little to the state in the Union Budget.
In a rare show of unity, leaders across party lines in the Rajya Sabha demanded that Union minister Kiren Rijiju apologise to Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury for a post he put up about her on social media. Chowdhury has filed a privilege motion against Rijiju, NDTV reported.
On Wednesday, Chowdhury had mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech with a loud guffaw. Vice President and Speaker Venkaiah Naidu had pulled her up for it, and Modi had responded saying he had not heard such laughter since the Ramayana serial was aired in the 1980s. BJP leader Rijiju posted a video of this exchange on Facebook. The video, however, replaced Chowdhury’s laugh with a clip of Shurpanakha, Ravana’s sister, from the TV show.
When the Upper House began proceedings on Friday, Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agarwal said Naidu must ask Rijiju to apologise to Chowdhury, and members from other parties supported him, The Hindu reported.
Meanwhile, members from Andhra Pradesh began raising slogans, and the House was adjourned till noon. When the House reconvened to discuss the Union Budget, there was an uproar by TDP members who held placards and shouted slogans even as an MP rose to speak.