RS stalled over conversion issue, Opp demands PM Statement

New Delhi, Dec 17: The opposition stalled proceedings in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday over a repeated demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be called to the Upper House to make a statement on the conversion row that has hogged national headlines for the past few days.

At the time of the filing of this report, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, P.J.Kurien, had adjourned the proceedings till 12.18 pm., as an unrelenting opposition continued to raise slogans against the government and the Prime Minister.

Throughout the morning, Kurien said he had no authority to give the assurance to the opposition that the Prime Minister would reply on the conversion issue, adding that it was the prerogative of the government and the Treasury bench to give a reply in this regard.

The Prime Minister, was, however, present in the Lok Sabha.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said the leader of the government in Rajya Sabha must tell the House whether the Prime Minister will come to the Upper House to make a statement on the religious conversion issue.

"If the PM does not come to the House, we will not let the Rajya Sabha function," says Sharma.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress MPs protested outside Parliament with black clothes wrapped around their mouth in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam investigation.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley countered the Opposition, saying that the Prime Minister has not announced any policy decision outside Parliament, but only made remarks.

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal too demanded that Mr.Modi should reply in Parliament, and not in the BJP parliamentary board meeting, on the issue of religious reconversion and other issues, including on controversial remarks made by BJP MPs.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday accused the Opposition of blocking the business in Rajya Sabha, saying the entire country is watching.

"The entire country is watching. They are blocking the House, it is totally unacceptable," Naidu said, adding the people are waiting for the passage of crucial bills. "We are not at fault, we are ready for all kinds of discussions," the minister said further.

Earlier, senior Union ministers of the government met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss the strategy to be adopted in Parliament. They included Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari.

The government has been trying to convince the opposition to end the deadlock in the Rajya Sabha.

Business has been affected in the Upper House for the past several days over several issues, latest of them being the religious reconversion row.

As a result of the deadlock in Rajya Sabha, the government has not been able to table the Insurance Bill, a key reform legislation providing for raising FDI cap from 26 percent to 49 percent.


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