The Opposition’s continuous uproar and persistent demand for a discussion on the increase in petrol, diesel and LPG prices on Monday led to washout of the day’s proceedings in Rajya Sabha.
The Upper House which met for the first time in the second part of the budget session saw repeated adjournments as the Opposition continued to protests inside the House.
Rajya Sabha witnessed four adjournments—first around 10.05am till 11am and again till 1pm and then two quick adjournments of 15 minutes each—before it was adjourned for the day.
The House will now meet on its regular timing of 11am to 6pm from Tuesday, after chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu accepted the demands of some members for a regular sitting.
The House was meeting for five hours from 9am to 2pm since the first part of the Budget session that started on 31 January.
Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge gave a notice for suspension of business for Monday and demanded a discussion on the “huge and frequent” rise in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG even when global prices were “low”.
The chairman disallowed the discussion, saying the issue can be discussed during the course of discussion on the Appropriation Bill, but asked Kharge to mention the subject of his notice considering his seniority.
Kharge said price of petrol was touching ₹100 and diesel ₹80 per litre, while LPG rates have increased and prices of petroleum products have gone up.
He claimed that there has been nearly 820% increase in the prices of petrol and around 258% in excise duty after 2014. He said the central government has made a “profit” of ₹21 trillion in the last six years from tax and cess on petroleum products.
Describing it as a “burning subject”, he said people are agitating across the country.
“That’s why we are requesting you to suspend all the rules under Rule 267 and give us a chance to speak on this subject. Ultimately, what is the government going to tell about this,” he said.
When the chairman asked him to stop raising the issue and take up the Question Hour, the Opposition members began shouting slogans demanding a debate.
Naidu kept asking members to return to their seats and not deprive members of Question Hour, but the Opposition members were relentless in their demand and kept on shouting.
“If you don’t want the Question Hour to continue, if you want to deprive people of Question Hour, I can adjourn the House. Please go to your seat. Loktantra ka mazak nahi karna hai…,” the chairman said.
As members continued to shout, he adjourned the House till 11 am.
When the House re-assembled at 11am, Congress members again raised their demand forcing another adjournment till 1pm.