“I am glad that we are discussing the imposition of President’s rule because I believe that deliberation and discussion is the basis of a democracy,” said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. When the minister claimed that President’s rule was imposed the Congress did not have majority, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah objected.
“The governor spoke to all the parties and submitted a report saying that no party has the majority,” Singh said in response. “The governor said no one has staked claim to form government, following which he sent his recommendations to the president.”
The House was adjourned twice during the day – first till noon and then till 3.30 pm. The second adjournment was forced by protests by the Opposition on the subject of political instability in Kashmir, The Indian Express reported. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who initiated the discussion on the subject, said Governor Satya Pal Malik had acted in “gross violation” of a Supreme Court order in the SR Bommai case that had stated that the test of an alliance’s legislative strength can be decided only on the floor of an Assembly. The governor’s “private assessment” was anathema to the Constitution and is also subject to personal malfeasance, he added. Moreover, the decision violated the Sarkaria Commission’s guidelines on Centre-state relations.
Singh, however, urged the Opposition to not question the government’s intention. “Don’t raise questions on the intentions of this government – if it was so, we could have done that a long time ago,” the minister added. “We tried our best to make the alliance [with the Peoples Democratic Party] work.”
Farooq Abdullah asked why Singh had not met the leaders of the separatist Hurriyat Conference during his visists to the state. “It is a shame because no solution can be formed unless you talk to the people,” Abdullah added. “The unfortunate killing of civilians affects each and every one of us. We have to move forward together without hatred. For India to survive, Kashmir has to be given its due priority.”
Singh told the Lower House that the government was ready to conduct elections in the state. “It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to hold elections... we are totally committed to democratic process,” he added.
The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday, according to PRS Legislative. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, the Companies (Amendment) Bill, the National Medical Commission Bill and New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill are also expected to be discussed in the Lower House.
A private member bill seeking a ban on serving non-vegetarian food in government meetings and functions was also introduced in the Lok Sabha, PTI reported. BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh moved the Official Government Meetings and Functions (Prohibition on Serving Non-Vegetarian Food) Bill, 2018.
BJP’s Jagdambika Pal introduced a bill seeking amendments in the Army Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957 and Air Force Act, 1950. The amendments seek equal rights and opportunities for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for service in the armed forces.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor introduced a bill that seeks to set up an effective regime to maintain the integrity of sports in the country by preventing and penalising fraud and regulation of online sports gaming. Shiv Sena MP Shivaji Adalrao Patil introduced a draft law seeking to abolish begging and to rehabilitate beggars.
Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till Monday following protests by legislators of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam over the Cauvery water row. Outside Parliament, Telugu Desam Party MP Naramalli Sivaprasad dressed up as Hindu deity Shiva demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
After the Winter Session of the Parliament resumed on Thursday after the Christmas break, the Opposition continued its protests demanding an inquiry into the Rafale deal. MPs of AIADMK protested against the construction of a dam on the Cauvery river, while Telugu Desam Party members demanded special category status for Andhra Pradesh and a steel plant in the state.
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned on Thursday without transacting any business after MPs protested over several issues, including the construction of the Mekedatu dam on Cauvery.