New Delhi, March 4: Both houses of parliament were adjourned for the day Monday after a vociferous opposition repeatedly disrupted proceedings and demanded a rollback of last week’s hike in petrol prices.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha saw several adjournments as members from opposition parties shouted slogans, slamming the government and demanding that the hike be rolled back.
Petrol prices went up by Rs.1.40 a litre, excluding taxes, from March 1. This was the second hike in barely a fortnight after the Feb 15 increase in the price of the fuel by Rs.1.50 a litre.
In the Lok Sabha, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties like the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Trinamool Congress started shouting slogans on the issue as soon as the house met at 11 a.m.
Speaker Meira Kumar’s repeated requests to allow question hour to proceed proved futile and the house was adjourned first till noon and then till 2 p.m.
The scene was the same at 2 p.m. when the lower house reassembled and deputy speaker Kariya Munda, who was in the chair, had to finally adjourn the house till Tuesday.
The Rajya Sabha also witnessed similar scenes with the entire opposition as well as the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who support the ruling United Progressive Alliance from outside, disrupting proceedings.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the upper house for 10 minutes, and then till noon. The commotion continued when the house reassembled at noon.
“This is disrespect of parliament. When the house is in session how can a minister make such an important announcement outside parliament,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
SP leader Naresh Aggarwal said the hike was not acceptable and the government timed it just a day after the budget was presented.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the decision was not taken by the government but oil companies.
“Ever since petroleum prices have been deregulated, oil companies decide and announce oil price hike and not the ministers. This is not disrespect of parliament,” he said.
The government tried to explain its point of view saying the hike was decided by the oil companies but in vain.
“Ever since petroleum prices have been deregulated, oil companies decide and announce oil price hike and not the ministers. This is not disrespect of parliament,” Shukla said.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who was in the chair, was forced to adjourn the upper house first till 2 p.m., then till 3 p.m and finally for the day when opposition members refused to relent.