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PM appeal for peace turned down; Stormy start to parliament

Tuesday November 22, 2011 02:53:27 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha got off to a stormy start Tuesday with opposition protests against Home Minister P. Chidambaram forcing its adjournment for the day.

The lower house was plunged into chaos soon after the winter session opened, with opposition MPs disregarding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal for calm.

The opposition's target was Chidambaram, for his alleged links to the 2G spectrum corruption scandal. He was prevented from speaking in the Lok Sabha.

As Lok Sabha members assembled, Speaker Meira Kumar made obituary references to ex-members, including former union minister Vasant Sathe, who died in the past few months.

Newly elected member Kuldeep Bishnoi was sworn in.

But when the speaker wanted the question hour taken up, opposition members were on their feet.

The first question of the day was to be answered by Chidambaram, who Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has vowed to boycott.

As Chidambaram got up to table the written reply of a question on Maoist violence, BJP members shouted him down. He sat back silently without even reacting to the opposition's behaviour.

Before the two houses met, Manmohan Singh appealed for peace.

"I sincerely hope that all political parties will realise that we have some very important pieces of legislation which are going to be presented in this session, and our country's sustained development and prosperity demands that many of those bills should be converted as acts of parliament," he said.

The winter session is expected to debate the Lokpal bill, which is aimed at fighting corruption.

"As far as the boycott (of Chidambaram) is concerned, I sincerely hope that the political parties will resist any such temptation. There is virtually no case for a boycott of the type that has been talked about in the newspapers," he told reporters.

The BJP-led combine wants Manmohan Singh to ask Chidambaram to resign.

Chidambaram refused a comment on the opposition strategy and silently walked out of parliament house when journalists sought his reaction.

The first 20 minutes of the day were peaceful as members listened to the speaker expressing grief over the loss of lives in a series of tragedies in India and elsewhere.

But Chidambaram's was not the only issue that rocked the Lok Sabha.

The proposed division of Uttar Pradesh, the demand for Telangana and price rise were also taken up by opposition MPs.

Amid the ruckus, the Lok Sabha was adjourned till 12 and then, as the din continued, for the entire day.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned to mourn the death of two members, Ram Dayal Munda and Silvious Condapen.





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