Logjam over prices continues, both houses adjourned

New Delhi, July 30: The logjam in parliament over rising prices continued for the fourth day Friday with a united opposition adamantly protesting and demanding a discussion followed by voting on the issue, which forced the adjournment of both houses till noon.

As the Lok Sabha assembled at 11 a.m., angry opposition members led by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj (Bharatiya Janata Party) were on their feet, demanding an adjournment motion on the price rise issue.

"I request you to adjourn the question hour and accept our notice for adjournment as per the rule 184 (which entails voting)," Swaraj told Speaker Meira Kumar.

The speaker rejected the demand and attempted to proceed with the question hour amidst a din.

As Meira Kumar called for the questions listed for the day, many opposition MPs advanced to the speaker's podium, shouting slogans to press for their demand.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal objected to the opposition's demand and accused them of "deliberately stalling the house".

"They are talking about rules and won't let the house function," he said.

"Please let question hour proceed," urged Meira Kumar but protesting MPs didn't relent, forcing the speaker to adjourn the house till noon.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned on the same issue till noon.

As on previous days, the trouble erupted as soon as the upper house assembled at 11 a.m., with S.S. Ahluwalia of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Manohar Joshi of the Shiv Sena leading the opposition in demanding that question hour be suspended and the house discuss the spiralling food prices.

"Please let question hour proceed," urged Chairman Hamid Ansari but to no avail. He then called the first question but the MP who had posed it was not present in the house.

Ansari then called the second question but the opposition protests, which were rather muted Friday, continued. He then adjourned the house till 12 noon.

Parliament has not been able to transact any real business on the first four working days of the monsoon session that began Monday due to vociferous opposition demands that the price rise issue be debated under an adjournment motion that entails voting. The proceedings were adjourned on the first day after obituary references to former members who had died in the inter-session period.

The government says it is ready to discuss the price rise issue but is not ready for voting, which opposition parties say was meant to "censure" the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) over its alleged failure to curb the spiralling prices of essential commodities.

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