Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day as Opposition parties continued protests against the row between the Central Bureau of Investigation and the police in West Bengal, The Indian Express reported. The Budget Session, which began on January 31 will last till February 13.
The Rajya Sabha had reconvened at 2 pm after Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu had adjourned the House after Trinamool Congress raised the matter. The Upper House will now reconvene at 11 am on Tuesday.
The Lok Sabha also reconvened at 2 pm after a similar uproar in the afternoon, but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was forced to adjourn the House soon after proceedings began as Opposition continued protests.
The crisis broke out in Kolkata on Sunday evening as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee began a public dharna to “save the Constitution”, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of launching a coup against her state.
This followed an attempt by a team from the Central Bureau of Investigation to question the head of the Kolkata police about two ponzi schemes allegedly involving senior politicians. The CBI is controlled by the Centre, while the Kolkata police by the West Bengal government.
Some CBI officials were detained by the Kolkata police for a few hours. This resulted in paramilitary forces being called out to protect the offices of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will hear a petition filed by the CBI in the matter on Tuesday.
After the Lower House reconvened at noon on Monday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Banerjee’s dharna “unprecedented”, The Hindu reported. He said that the CBI had summoned the police commissioner several times, but to no avail. Singh said the CBI took action in the Saradha chit fund scam following instructions from the Supreme Court.
Singh said that the case was transferred to the CBI because the scam took place in many states. He called the tussle between the CBI and the Kolkata Police “unfortunate”. But he added: “The Centre has power to maintain normalcy in any part of the country.”
However, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge claimed the Centre was trying to finish the Opposition using the CBI. “No party will bow to your illegal measures,” he added. MPs from the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party also backed the Trinamool Congress in the matter.
Earlier in the day, the Aam Aadmi Party gave a notice in the Rajya Sabha for suspension of business demanding that the House discuss the alleged misuse of CBI, party MP Sanjay Singh told ANI.
The Congress had issued a whip to its MPs directing them to be present in Parliament through the week, as the House debates the interim Budget, which was presented by Union Minister of Finance Piyush Goyal on February 1.
Though the Budget was called an interim one as the term of the Narendra Modi-led government ends in May, several analysts have said Goyal broke convention as the Budget was packed with major welfare schemes. By convention, outgoing governments present an interim Budget of expenditure and receipts instead of a full one.
Goyal’s proposals included a full tax rebate for individual taxpayers with annual income up to Rs 5 lakh, pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector and assured income support for farmers with small landholdings. Several Opposition parties also criticised the government for its “election Budget”.
Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule raised the matter of unemployment in the country in the Lok Sabha, according to The Indian Express.
According to the as-yet-unreleased National Sample Survey Office’s Periodic Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate in India was at a 45-year-high of 6.1% in 2017-’18. This was the first full financial year after the government demonetised high-value currency notes in November 2016. The report for 2017-’18 has not been released by the government yet but was accessed by Business Standard.