Parliament Watch: Both Houses adjourned early once again as chaos persists

New Delhi: Proceedings of Rajya Sabha underway during Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were once again adjourned ahead of scheduled time after uproar over Rahul Gandhi’s recent remarks made during his U.K. visit. During an interaction with a group of students at the University of Cambridge, Mr. Gandhi said that Indian democracy was under threat and several Opposition leaders, including himself, were being snooped upon by using Israeli spyware Pegasus. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has since accused him of “maligning India on foreign soil”.

Lok Sabha
Proceedings in the Lower House were disrupted for the second consecutive day on Tuesday over Mr. Gandhi’s remarks in the U.K. on democracy in India.

Treasury benches of the Lower House raised slogans and demanded an apology from the Congress party for Mr. Gandhi’s remarks. The Opposition, meanwhile, waved placards and reiterated the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani-Hindenburg issue.

Despite Speaker Om Birla’s appeal to the members to maintain decorum, protests and sloganeering continued even in the few minutes when the House was in session. Early morning, the House was adjourned to meet at 2.00 p.m., but no significant business was conducted even in the second half of the day. Mr. Birla requested members to uphold the dignity of the House and not wave placards, telling the Opposition leaders he would allow them to raise issues after Question Hour.

The MPs could barely lay papers and standing committee reports on the table of the House when the Speaker adjourned the Lower House for the day amid protests and slogans.

Rajya Sabha
The Upper House had an hour of peaceful early morning proceedings, thanks to a spate of congratulatory messages for Indian winners at the 95th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on March 12. Indian documentary The Elephant Whisperers bagged the Best Documentary Short Award, while RRR won Best Original song for Naatu Naatu.

“The wins (for The Elephant Whisperers and RRR) mark a new recognition of full spectrum of cinema that India produces,” Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said.

Shiv Sena MP raised an important point about the boycott culture in India while congratulating actor Deepika Padukone for her appearance during the award ceremony to introduce the song Naatu Naatu. “As I mention Deepika Padukone, I am reminded of the boycott culture on our social media platforms. I hope this year’s Oscar Awards help us get rid of it,” she said. Ms. Padukone has been targeted on social media platforms for a song in her recent movie Pathaan alongside Shah Rukh Khan. In 2020, her movie Chhapaak was also embroiled in a controversy after she went to Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi to express solidarity with its students and faculty who were attacked by armed assailants.

Meanwhile, Chairman Dhankhar asked MP Anurag Thakur to organise a screening of The Elephant Whisperers and RRR for members of Rajya Sabha and their families.

Other than this discussion, no significant business was conducted in the Upper House. The Opposition continued to corner the government on the Adani row while the government MPs demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi for his allegedly defamatory remarks made during in the U.K.

The Upper House was first adjourned soon after 12 p.m. to meet at 2.00 p.m., and again soon after it resumed post lunch.

Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will now resume proceedings on Wednesday at 11.00 a.m.