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Lok Sabha Adjourned Amid Opposition Uproar Over 'Misuse' of ED by Govt

In Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge questions ED summons to him at a time when Parliament is in session.
Lok sabha

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

New Delhi: Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the day on Thursday amid sloganeering by Congress members against the alleged misuse of the Enforcement Directorate by the government. 

As soon as the House met at 2 p.m, papers were laid on the table and two resolutions adopted amid continued sloganeering by Congress members.

Kirit Solanki, who was in the chair, requested the protesting members to go back to their seats and allow the House to function after which he adjourned the proceedings for the day.

Earlier in the day, Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 2 p.m as soon as Congress members displayed placards to protest against the actions of the ED and price rise.

Amid the sloganeering by Opposition members, the Question Hour went on till around 11:30 a.m and five questions as well as their related supplementaries were taken up.

Congress and other Opposition members protested against the ED action, GST on essential items and price rise.

However, at around 11:30 a.m, as soon as some Congress members displayed placards standing in the Well of the House, Speaker Om Birla adjourned the proceedings till 2 p.m.

Congress leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was the first to display the placards and other members then brought placards to the House.

Earlier this week, when Birla had revoked the suspension of four Opposition members, he had also made it clear that they should not display placards inside the House.

As soon as the proceedings began on Thursday, Opposition members sought to raise various issues and shouted slogans. With the Speaker not allowing them to raise the issues, Congress members trooped into the Well of the House while those from the DMK, NCP and CPI-M, among others, protested by standing at their seats.

The lines 'Save Constitution, Save Democracy' and 'GST hurting common people' were written on the placards. Besides, the members also protested against price rise.

While the protests were continuing, DMK member S R Parthiban (DMK Salem) asked a supplementary question and at that time, Birla and DMK leader T R Baalu were seen smiling at each other since the Southern party was also protesting.

During the Question Hour, the Speaker also told Power, New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh that as a minister he should know the rules and that documents have to be tabled in the House and not directly given to the members. The remark came after Singh replied to a supplementary question related to renewable energy.

On Wednesday, the ED temporarily sealed the office of Young Indian (YI) company housed in the premises of Congress-owned newspaper National Herald here as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation.

Later on Wednesday, the road to AICC headquarters was blocked by the Delhi police with the Congress saying policemen were deployed there and claimed the party was "under siege" by the Modi government.

Rajya Sabha: Kharge Summoned by ED During Session

The Congress on Thursday raised the issue of ED action and police gherao of its party office and the residences of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, with Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge saying in the Rajya Sabha that he has been summoned by the ED at a time when Parliament is in session.

Leader of the House Piyush Goyal, however, claimed that the government does not interfere in the functioning of law-enforcement agencies and said Congress leaders should face the law, not run away from it and allow Parliament to function.

Raising the issue during the Question Hour, after an Opposition uproar in the House over the alleged misuse of agencies by the government to target leaders, Kharge said this is an attempt to intimidate them and they will not be cowed down.

"This House is functioning and I am the leader of the Opposition parties. But right now, I have received a summons from the ED to appear before it when a Parliament session is on. Right now, when Parliament is functioning, is it fair on the part of the ED to summon me?" he asked amid shouts of "shame, shame" from the Opposition benches.

Noting that he is a law-abiding citizen and has to leave for the ED office at 12.30 p.m, Kharge said, "I do not want to avoid the law and I want to follow the law."

He also said the residences of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi have been gheraoed by police.

"If we carry on like this, will our democracy remain alive? Will we function as per our Constitution? This is being purposely done to demoralise us, destroy us and intimidate us. But we will not be afraid or intimidated and will fight," the senior Congress leader said, demanding that there be a discussion on the issue in the House.

Congress's chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh also alleged that "Modishahi" is reaching a new low as Kharge was summoned by the ED in the middle of a Parliament session.

"Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, was summoned by the ED when Parliament was in session. He, of course, left around 12:20 pm and presented himself. This is Modishahi reaching new lows," the former Union minister said on Twitter.

The Opposition members kept raising slogans in the Well of the House, even as the chair carried on with the Question Hour amid the din.

V Vijaisai Reddy, who was in the chair, kept pleading with the protesting Opposition members to return to their seats.

"It is not right to enter the Well and stand in front of the podium. Please go back to your seats," Reddy told the unrelenting Opposition members.

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