Back to square one: Anti-Chidambaram protests disrupt parliament

New Delhi : After only a day of peace and normal business in parliament, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were back to no work Thursday amid repeated disruptions by opposition parties demanding the resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned first till noon and later till 2 p.m. as members from opposition parties created a ruckus after a special CBI court Thursday allowed Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy to recall himself as a witness to prove Chidambaram’s alleged complicity in the scandal.

As soon as the house opened in the morning a day after almost peaceful proceedings, members from opposition parties rose to protest demanding the home minister’s ouster for his alleged involvement in the 2G scam during his tenure as finance minister.

Chidambaram should go, shouted the protesting MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) creating a din the house. Their ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) walked into the speaker’s podium to shout slogans.

Speaker Meira Kumar suspended the crucial Question Hour and adjourned the house to meet again at 12. When members reassembled again at noon, the din continued.

The speaker allowed an adjournment motion for a debate on rising prices. She asked Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta to initiate the debate but the bedlam continued forcing her to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.

The Rajya Sabha also witnessed repeated disruptions, with opposition MPs demanding Chidambaram’s ouster. The upper house was also adjourned first till 12 and then till 2 p.m. over the same issue.

Thursday was the 11th day of the 21-day long winter session. Parliament has already lost the first nine days of the session to opposition protests over various issues, including the government’s controversial decision of allowing foreign equity in Indian retail trade. The decision was suspended that paved the way for parliament to resume Wednesday.

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi demanded a probe into Chidambaram’s role in the 2G scam. “In this situation, Chidambaram should submit his resignation on his own, or else prime minister (Manmohan Singh) should sack him,” Joshi told reporters.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had decided to boycott Chidambaram in parliament when the winter session started.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said it was “not appropriate” for litigant Swamy to launch a personal attack against Chidambaram.

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