Battle Over Uttarakhand Moves to Parliament, Rajya Sabha adjourned: 10 Developments

NEW DELHI:  Parliament opened for the second half of the Budget session to slogan shouting and an early adjournment of the Rajya Sabha, as the Congress-led opposition insisted that the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand be discussed before all else.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
  1. Ministers Arun Jaitley and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sparred with the Congress’ Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad as the government argued that any discussion on Uttarakhand will be inappropriate, since the matter is now being heard by the Supreme Court.
  2. “When the proclamation comes up for a debate in Parliament, we will discuss it then. Can’t discuss it in pre-proclamation stage,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is the Leader of the Upper House, in which the government is in minority.
  3. “We have seen how an elected government was made to fall in Arunachal Pradesh too…This government deliberately provokes the opposition,” said Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, as both sides argued over rules.
  4. Shouting slogans like “killers of democracy,” and “tyranny will not be allowed,” a furious Congress is clear it will allow no legislative work till both Houses of Parliament debate BJP-led central government’s move to dismiss its Harish Rawat government and enforce President’s Rule in Uttarakhand.
  5. As he headed into Parliament this morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he believed the houses will function smoothly. “We hope to get the opposition’s support for Parliament to function and take good decisions,” PM Modi said.
  6. The government has 15 sittings left in the Budget session to push a number of bills, including its major reform the Goods and Services Tax bill, and needs the opposition’s help to pass these in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority.
  7. The GST bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha, but the opposition has stalled it in the Rajya Sabha, making the government miss its deadline of implementing the biggest ever tax reform by April 1 this year.
  8. GST is a national sales tax that will subsume a complicated network of central and state levies and is expected to boost domestic trade while creating a unified national market.
  9. Opposition parties also want to take on the government in debates on drought in 13 states and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy on Pakistan after repeated setbacks in the investigation of the terror attack on the Pathankot Airbase in which seven Indian security personnel died.
  10. The Budget session, which began on February 23, ends on May 13. Parliament broke for a recess over a month long on March 16 and has to also complete financial business related to the general and rail budgets.