Rafale Deal Rocks Parl, Bill to Amend Aadhaar Act Passed in LS
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha during Winter Session.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha during Winter Session.(Photo: ANI Screengrabs/Altered by The Quint)

Rafale Deal Rocks Parl, Bill to Amend Aadhaar Act Passed in LS

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in response to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s point-by-point speech on Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha on Friday, 4 January, said the questions on how Anil Ambani procured the deal went unanswered.

Sitharaman concluded her speech by saying the Bofors scam brought the Congress down, but the Rafale deal will bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi back to build a new India and remove corruption, which has gripped the Congress.

She alleged that the Congress is only shedding crocodile tears over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) not getting the offset contract as the party did nothing to scale up the capacity of the state-run firm.

Snapshotclose

  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman answered questions raised regarding the Rafale deal in Lok Sabha on 4 January
  • On the same day, Rahul Gandhi said if his party comes to power in 2019, a criminal investigation will be launched into the Rafale deal
  • Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan suspended 21 MPs of AIADMK, TDP from the House for four days on 3 January
  • The Winter Session of Parliament began on 11 December 2018 and will conclude on 8 January 2019
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KEY EVENT

Centre Committed to Democratic Process in J&K: Rajnath

As the Opposition slammed the decision to impose President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Lok Sabha on Friday said that no party was in a position to form government in the state and asserted that the Centre is "ready" for an Assembly election.

He also rejected claims by the Opposition that the BJP was propping up a regional party to form a government, saying that if his party had such an intention, it would have done so within six months of the Governor's Rule.

"The government doesn't conduct elections but the government is ready for the election. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to hold elections... we are totally committed to the democratic process," Singh told the lower house while replying to the Statutory Resolution on imposition of President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir.

The resolution was adopted by a voice vote.

(Source: PTI)

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Bill on Freedom of Literature Introduced in Parliament

On the second last functional day of 2018, Parliament saw introduction of The Freedom of Literature Bill, 2018.

This bill aims at removing the anti-blasphemy law (S. 295A & 298 of the Indian Penal Code) and removes the criminalisation of spreading ‘prurient literature.’ It also substantially curbs the power of the government to ban books.

Bill Seeking Amendment to Disaster Management Bill Introduced

The Disaster Management (Amendment) Bill 2018 for establishing a ‘National Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Fund’ to meet the expenses for post disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction was also introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday, 28 December.

Bills on Women's Sexual Rights Introduced

The Women's Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill, 2018, was also introduced in Parliament on Friday, 28 December. It criminalises marital rape and cites that a woman's right to terminate pregnancy should be only restricted to avoid female foeticide and when a foetus gains the right to life after it becomes viable. In all other circumstances, including when the foetus or the pregnant woman has any injury or threat to life, or when a woman is a rape survivor or has a disability, she should have the right to terminate her pregnancy.

It also mandates public authorities and schools to provide sanitary napkins in washrooms, free of cost.

KEY EVENT

Opposition to Meet on 31 December to Discuss the Triple Talaq Bill

Opposition parties will meet in Parliament on Monday, 31 December, to discuss the Triple Talaq Bill.

The Lok Sabha passed the bill on Thursday, 27 December, with 245 voting in its favour and 11 opposing the legislation. Most opposition parties, including Congress and the AIADMK, staged a walkout.

Bill Seeking Legalislation of Online Gaming Introduced

The Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018, which criminalises acts of sports fraud and legalises online sports gaming activities was introduced in Parliament on Friday, 28 December.

Lok Sabha Approves Proclamation of President's Rule in J&K

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed amid din a statutory resolution approving the proclamation of Presidents Rule in Jammu and Kashmir even as the Opposition parties objected and termed it "unconstitutional".

After the passage of the resolution moved by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed a brief discussion, saying although it has been passed and already been adopted, she was allowing a discussion on it as a "special case".

Initiating the debate, Shashi Tharoor of Congress opposed the resolution saying the state was put under Governor's Rule without any floor test.

"It was done despite the fact that Congress, the PDP and the National Conference had come together to form the government. Why did the Governor not conduct a floor test in the Assembly. The exercise (of the Governor) was improper and the act was unconstitutional," he said.

KEY EVENT

Ravi Shankar Prasad to Move Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha on 31 December

Union Home Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will move the Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha on 31 December.

KEY EVENT

Triple Talaq Bill to Be Tabled in Rajya Sabha, Cong Says Won't Let It Pass

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary KC Venugopal told reporters in Kochi that the party would join hands with others to prevent the bill from getting passed in the House, he told reporters in Kochi.

He said 10 opposition parties had openly come out against the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 when it was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Even the parties which support the government on various issues, including AIADMK, have opposed the bill, said Venugopal, who is also a Congress floor strategist.

Condemning the bill, he said the stringent provisions like criminalisation of a civil wrong were there in the triple talaq bill and it was not at all acceptable to the opposition parties, including the Congress.

"...The bill will not help empower women," the Congress leader said.

Triple Talaq Bill Will Ruin Families, Will Launch Agitation Against It: AIMWPLB

The All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) on Sunday, 30 December termed the triple talaq bill as one which will "ruin" families if its is made into a law, and said it will launch an agitation against it.

"The law should had been made according to the Quran. There should have been some scope for agreement. Talaq (divorce) happens when all options are exhausted”, the chairperson of AIMWPLB Shaista Ambar said.

"If the proposed legislation becomes a means of punishment instead of relief for the people, then we will launch an agitation," she told PTI.

She claimed the proposed legislation will ruin families.

KEY EVENT

AIADMK, DMK to Oppose Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha

The ruling AIADMK and the Opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu will oppose the contentious Triple Talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, days after it was adopted by the Lok Sabha, the parties said on Sunday, 30 December.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 seeking to criminalise the practice of instant divorce among Muslims is set to be tabled in the upper house of Parliament even as opposition parties including the Congress have said that they will not allow its passage in the present form.

"We oppose triple talaq bill," senior All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai said.

TMC Moves Motion for Reference of Triple Talaq Bill to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha

The Trinamool Congress on Monday, 31 December, moved a motion for reference of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 (Triple Talaq Bill), as passed by the Lok Sabha, to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha, reported ANI.

Opposition Leaders Hold Meeting to Discuss Triple Talaq Bill

Opposition leaders held a meeting at Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad's chamber in the Parliament on Monday, 31 December, reportedly to discuss the Triple Talaq Bill.

(Photo Courtesy: ANI)
KEY EVENT

'Govt Forcibly Imposing Triple Talaq Bill is a Danger for Secularism': Chandrababu Naidu

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu on Monday, 31 December, appealed to the TDP Rajya Sabha MPs to "obstruct the harassment of Muslims".

“All opposition parties should fight unitedly against the anti-Muslim attitude of BJP. The government forcibly imposing Triple Talaq Act (Bill) is a danger for secularism and national integrity.”
Chandrababu Naidu, as quoted by ANI

'Sonia and Rahul Gandhi Never Interfered in the AgustaWestland Deal and Procurement': AK Antony

Congress leader AK Antony on Monday, 31 December, sought to counter the BJP-led government on the AgustaWestland case, as he asserted that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered in the deals and the procurement.

“As former Defence Minister, during my time, the procurement of AgustaWestland took place. I would like to say, categorically, that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never interfered in the deals and the procurement. AgustaWestland was selected after evaluation by team of officials.”
Congress leader AK Antony

He further asserted he ordered a CBI inquiry into the case, and not the current government, as he questioned the latter's track record.

KEY EVENT

Opposition Demands Triple Talaq Bill be Sent to a Select Committee

The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha demanded that the contentious Triple Talaq Bill be referred to a select committee amid protests on Monday, 31 December.

TMC MP Derek O'Brien said all opposition parties have unanimously decided that the bill must be sent to the select committee.

Meanwhile, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of Opposition in the Upper House, said:

“This is such an important bill which can positively or negatively affect the lives of crores of people. [It] can’t be passed just like this without going to a select committee.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad, as quoted by ANI
KEY EVENT

Rajya Sabha Adjourned till Wednesday, 2 January

The House was adjourned for the day amid din over the the Triple Talaq Bill.

The bill will now be taken up for discussion on 2 January.

Earlier the House was already adjourned twice during the day with an adjournment in the morning following protests by AIADMK members over the Cauvery issue.

Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill to be Introduced in Lok Sabha

The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, 2 January.

The bills to be discussed in the Lower House on Wednesday would be The Companies (Amendment) Bill, The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill and The National Medical Commission Bill, according to PRS Legislative.

AIADMK MPs Protest Over Cauvery Issues; Venkaiah Naidu Calls for Cooperation

AIADMK MPs on Wednesday, 2 January, protested in the Rajya Sabha over the Cauvery issue.

Meanwhile, the Upper House's chairman Venkaiah Naidu urged members to cooperate for proper functioning of the House.

“The image of the Parliament is taking a beating. People are laughing at us. Please cooperate to see that this House functions in a meaningful manner for the remaining days and pass some resolutions. Issues cannot be dictated.”
Venkaiah Naidu, as quoted by ANI
KEY EVENT

'Why Are Files Relating to Rafale Deal Being Hidden?': Congress

Addressing the media in Parliament House, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Wednesday, 2 January, released an audio clip of Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Pratapsingh Rane claiming that the state CM Manohar Parrikar has "All the files related to the Rafale deal in his bedroom".

“Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has the all the files relating to Rafale jet deal. The fashion in which every procedure was bypassed... it is all recorded in the files. Those files are with Parrikar. Why are those files being hidden?”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala
KEY EVENT

Rahul Gandhi Attacks Modi Government Over 'Staged' Interview

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, 2 January, launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra in the Lok Sabha over the Rafale deal, saying the PM didn't answer fundamental questions on Rafale in his one and a half hour staged interview to ANI that was given on Tuesday.

Asking why was there no Rafale jet on the Indian soil yet, Rahul Gandhi said:

“The entire procedure of the deal was bypassed. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar himself said, ‘I had no idea about the new deal’. PM Modi changed the pricing of Rafale Deal without consulting the Air Force.”
Rahul Gandhi
KEY EVENT

Arun Jaitley Counters Rahul Gandhi on Rafale

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Rahul Gandhi "lied before the whole nation", during his attack on the Congress president over the Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday

Responding to Rahul Gandhi's request for playing an audio clip relating to the deal, Jaitley said the the recording is “false and fabricated”.

KEY EVENT

'PM Modi Has No Guts to Answer Rafale Queries in Parliament': Rahul Gandhi

In his speech in the Lok Sabha on the Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi said:

“There are number of holes in the Rafale story. Last time PM listened to my speech and gave a long speech later, where he didn’t talk for even five minutes on Rafale. He doesn’t have guts to come to Parliament to confront. Defence Minister hides behind AIADMK MPs and PM hides in his room.”
Rahul Gandhi, as quoted by ANI

When told by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan not to take Anil Ambani's name in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi asked, "Should I call him 'double A'?"

'Some People Have a Natural Dislike for Truth': Arun Jaitley

Responding to Rahul Gandhi's questions on the Rafale deal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "Some people have a natural dislike for truth."

“On the last occasion, he (Rahul Gandhi) manufactured a conversation between him and the former French President. Today, he repeats the same. Today, he tried to produce a tap but he is too scared to authenticate it.”
Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI

Jaitley also quoted the James Bond 'Goldfinger' to attack the Gandhi family.

"Once is a happenstance, twice is a coincidence and three times is a conspiracy," he said.

“If the fingers point at you in AugustaWestland, National Herald and Bofors, then it is a bit too much. Today, they have the audacity to raise an allegation against us.”
Arun Jaitley

'Are You All Kids?': Miffed Sumitra Mahajan Shoots at LS Members

Peeved about the uproar in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan lashed out some members for flying paper planes during Arun Jaitley’s address on the Rafale deal.

Congress Doesn't Understand National Security: Jaitley

Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha traded barbs and accused Congress of not understanding national security.

Jaitley said the Congress and Gandhi were resorting to the simple argument of "Rs 500 (crore) versus Rs 1,600 (crore)" — an apparent reference to the difference in the price of aircraft in contracts signed by the UPA government and the current government.

"There is a reason for that. Some people and families in India only understand the arithmetic of money. They don't understand national security but only 'paisa'," he said.

“When he was young, he was playing in the lap of a certain 'Q' (Ottavio Quattrocchi). Congress doesn't understand national security,” Jaitley said.

SC Said it Has Examined the Process of Rafale Jet Deal: Jaitley

Quoting the Supreme Court’s judgment dismissing the need for a probe in the Rafale deal, Jaitley said the country’s top court has examined the route taken by the government for procuring 36 Rafale jets.

Jaitley also told the Parliament that the deal was a contract between two governments.

Sealed Cover Submitted in SC Raked in Lok Sabha

The sealed cover submitted by the government in the Supreme Court, which gave way to a major stir, was raked by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha today. He said, “It (the sealed cover response on pricing submitted by the government) solved the legal purpose in the Supreme Court, but not the Congress’ electoral needs.”

Cong Doesn't Understand Offsets: Arun Jaitley

Parliament saw stinging attacks in the session post 3:30 pm as the finance minister, replying to the Opposition’s queries on Rafale deal, reminded the Congress of previous scams.

Jaitley said the Congress felt that since "its hands are already soaked in corruption", it decided to "manufacture" a lie to defame the Modi government which has a clean record.

Jaitley also said that the NDA deal is 9 percent cheaper than the one sealed by UPA in 2012.

Precedence of Supreme Court's Verdict Over JPC, Says Govt

The government has ruled out the need for setting up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). Defending his stand, Jaitley said that there is no need for JPC as country’s top court has cleared the matter.

Jaitley Corners Congress on Bofors, National Herald & AgustaWestland

Without naming the Gandhi family, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked why was it that one family's name came up in Bofors scam, National Herald case and the AgustaWestland case.

"Had it been one case, I would have given them the benefit of the doubt. But three is a bit too much."

TDP MP Jayadev Galla Raises Contentious Audio Clip

Even after Jaitley refused to settle allegations raised by the Congress on an audio clip where Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane is heard saying that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had stored files on the Rafale deal in his bedroom, TDP MP Jayadev Galla raised the audio clip again and claimed that it has gone viral on social media.

Lok Sabha Adjourned for the Day

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Wednesday after speaker Sumitra Mahajan suspended several protesting members for five sittings.

KEY EVENT

PM Modi Changed the Procedure of Rafale Jet Deal: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress conducted a press conference on the audio clip where Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane is heard saying that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had stored files on the Rafale deal in his bedroom.

“I asked the Lok Sabha speaker if I can play the tape but the speaker refused to allow me to play it, so there was no question of authenticity of the tape there.”
Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi

Congress has already played it, Gandhi said, adding that there might be other tapes as well.

“Manohar Parrikar is effectively blackmailing prime minister on Rafale,” Congress chief said, alleging that the Goa CM is hiding significant files in his room.

“Entire cabinet heard what Mr Parrikar said, essentially what Mr Parrikar is doing is threatening and blackmailing the Prime Minister of India because he (Parrikar) has information of the Rafale Deal.”
Congress Presdent Rahul Gandhi

Attacking the union minister, Gandhi said, “Arun Jaitley himself told Parliament that size of Rafale deal is Rs 58,000 crore, or Rs 1,600 crore per aircraft.”

He further alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed the procedure of Rafale jet deal.

Rahul Gandhi Attacks Arun Jaitley's Claim on Figures

Responding to Arun Jaitley’s claims, Rahul Gandhi further alleged, “They keep asking where does Congress get the Rs 1600 crore per aircraft figure, let me tell you from where. Jaitley ji in his speech in Parliament had said the deal is Rs 58000 crore, so divide this by 36, what figure do you get? Rs 1600 crore.”

“The reality is that Rs 30,000 crore has been given to Anil Ambani,” he said, adding his signature jibe, “Chowkidaar Chor Hai”.

He questioned that if prices of Rafale deal were brought down as claimed by Union Minister, why did the country not buy 126 aircraft or more.

KEY EVENT

Give Me 20 Minutes With PM on Rafale: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi, in his press address, said he just needs 20 minutes with the prime minister to discuss the Rafale deal.

“One thing I found very surprising and interesting in his interview yesterday was that the PM said, the allegation is not against me personally. What world is the PM living in?” Gandhi asked.

Countering the finance minister’s statement from Parliament, Rahul Gandhi said, that Supreme Court never said there should be no investigation in Rafale deal but has only refused to set up a JPC in the deal.

‘Mr Gandhi Won The Internet Today’: Congress Tells Arun Jaitley

Seizing its final chance at attacking Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the day long political slugfest on Rafale jet deal, Congress told the former that party President Rahul Gandhi won the internet.

“We hate to break it to you Arun Jaitley ji but Mr Gandhi won the Internet today with his counters to your lies in Parliament. We look forward to your blog,” the Congress tweeted.

TDP MPs Protest in Parliament Demanding Special Status for Andhra Pradesh

(Photo: ANI)

Rahul's 'One-on-one Debate' Challenge to Modi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, 2 January, laid a challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling him out for a “one-on-one” debate in Parliament on the Rafale deal.

“PM never came clear on the deal. If Jaitley says cost came down, why didn’t they purchase more than 126 jets? I am ready for a one-on-one debate with PM. But he does not have the guts,” he had said.

Also Read : Rafale Probe Will Reveal Names Of Ambani, Modi: Rahul Gandhi 

Lok Sabha Adjourned Till Noon Amid Protests

The Lok Sabha was adjourned soon after it resumed at 11 am on Thursday, 3 January. The House will now reconvene at 12 pm.

The Lower House saw repeated disruptions in the Question Hour on Thursday, 3 January, amid protests by AIADMK and TDP MPs over the Cauvery river basin and Andhra special statues issues respectively.

Cong Leaders Move Adjournment Notice

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, Sunil Kumar Jakhar and Rajiv Satav on Thursday, 3 January, moved an adjournment motion over the order of Ministry of Home Affairs allowing 10 central agencies to monitor any computer resource, ANI reported.

(Photo: Twitter/@_pallavighosh)

RS Discusses Meghalaya Tragedy, UP Farmers' Land Eviction, NPS, & Other Issues

As the Lok Sabha was adjourned amid protests, the Rajya Sabha saw discussions on a range of issues on Thursday, 3 January.

House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu oversaw discussions on the Meghalaya mine tragedy, right to privacy, the National Pension Scheme (NPS), pollution in river Ganga among others.

The issue of forceful eviction of UP farmers from their land was also raised by Samajwadi Party’s Surendra Singh Nagar.

Parliament Schedule for Thursday, 3 January

Lok Sabha (Bills for consideration and passing):

  • The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018
  • The Aadhaar and other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018
  • The New Delhi International Arbitration Bill, 2018
  • The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017
  • The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017
  • The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018 - Discussion under Rule 193
  • Further discussion on issues relating to Rafale deal
  • Discussion on natural calamities in various parts of the country, particularly Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha with special reference to cyclones Gaja, Titli etc.

Rajya Sabha (Bills for consideration and passing):

  • The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018
  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018
  • The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 -Bill for consideration and return
  • The Appropriation (No 6) Bill, 2018

Naidu Commends Constructive RS Session

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday, 3 January, commended the MPs for allowing a constructive session.

Naidu said he "appreciates when there is no depreciation."

Lok Sabha Adjourned Till 2 PM Amid Continued Protests

Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan suspended TDP MPs under rule 374A on Thursday, 3 January, after the House was yet again disrupted by continued protests over the Andhra special status demand. The House will now reconvene at 2 pm.

Sitharaman To Reply During Rafale Debate at 2 PM

PM Has Fled Parliament: Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, 3 January, took a jibe at Narendra Modi, saying that the “PM has fled Parliament”.

This came after Gandhi had challenged the PM to hold a “one-on-one debate” on Rafale in Parliament on Wednesday.

A Student Who Fails in the Classroom: Sitharaman on Rahul

Responding to Rahul Gandhi's jibe at Narendra Modi, where he challenged him to answer four questions on Rafale, Nirmala Sitharaman called the Congress president a “student who fails in the classroom” who “boasts and challenges from outside”.

PM Must Answer on Rafale: Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress’ senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge weighed in on Rahul Gandhi asking for a one-to-one with PM Narendra Modi on Rafale, saying: “He (PM) must answer. It's a direct allegation on him that he helped his friends. He's the leader of the House, where will he answer if not here? Why is he letting other people advocate for him?”

(Source: ANI)

Also Read : Rafale Deal: Rahul, Jaitley Spar on ‘Parrikar Audio’ in Parliament

19 MPs of AIADMK, TDP Suspended From Lok Sabha for 4 Days

As many as 19 members of the AIADMK and TDP were suspended on Thursday, 3 January, for four days by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for repeatedly disrupting the proceedings of the House.

As soon as the Zero Hour commenced at noon, AIADMK and TDP members trooped in the Well, raising slogans and carrying banners demanding stalling of a dam on river Cauvery and special state status to Andhra Pradesh respectively.

As the disruptions continued, the Speaker suspended 19 MPs of the two parties.

(Source: PTI)

Lok Sabha Adjourned Till 11 AM on Friday Amid Sloganeering, Protests

Yet another day of the Winter Session of Parliament saw almost no work conducted in the Lok Sabha as protests, sloganeering, and chaos gripped the Lower House on Thursday, 3 January.

After the suspension of 19 MLAs for disturbing the decorum of the House failed to restore order, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan decided to adjourn the Lok Sabha till 11 am on Friday.

Ghulam Nabi Azad Speaks on Kashmir in Rajya Sabha

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke about a range of issues concerning Kashmir on Thursday, 3 January, ranging from militancy, tourism, infrastructure, employment generation, amid other developmental problems.

45 LS Members Suspended in 2 Days for Disruptions

Cracking the whip on unruly MPs, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has suspended 45 Lok Sabha members belonging to the TDP and the AIADMK since 2 January after they created ruckus in the House and continuously disrupted proceedings for days.

NDA Ally JD(U) to Oppose Triple Talaq Bill If Voting Takes Place in Rajya Sabha

The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally in Bihar, Janata Dal-United, on Thursday said it will oppose the triple talaq Bill in case voting takes place in the Rajya Sabha.

JD-U Rajya Sabha MP and party's Bihar unit chief Bashistha Narain Singh said,"The matter is related to a big community. There should be no hurry in bringing the triple talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha."

He said the government should have done more consultation with the stakeholders before rushing the Bill.

Asked about his party's stand in case voting takes place in the Upper House, Singh replied, "We will vote against the government."

All Issues Raised by Cong on Rafale Clarified by Sc: Swaraj

Asserting that every issue raised by the Congress on Rafale deal has been clarified by the Supreme Court, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said in Rajya Sabha that there is no controversy in the matter, except in minds of the opposition party leaders.

Unsatisfied by the minister's reply during the Question Hour, the Congress members including former prime minister Manmohan Singh staged a walkout.

Congress leader Anand Sharma in his supplementary query demanded that the government make public the minutes of the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former French President Fracois Hollande held last year on the Rafale deal in a bid to settle the controversy once for all.

To this, Swaraj said, "Anandji, there is no controversy”.

Lok Sabha Reconvenes Day After Ruckus in House

Tharoor-Jaitley Debate on Resource Allocation Among States

Friday’s Question Hour in the Lok Sabha on Friday, 4 January, saw a discussion on the distribution of resources among states.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor asked about the basis for the government’s varied resource allocation and on the relief package issued for the state of Kerala post Cyclone Ockhi.

Responding to the query, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the distribution of resources is as per the federal structure inscribed in the Constitution.

Lok Sabha Schedule for 4 January

Bills to be discussed:

  • The Companies (Amendment) Bill, The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill,
  • The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill,
  • The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill,
  • The National Medical Commission Bill,
  • The Dentists (Amendment) Bill.

Cong MPs Sell Potatoes Outside Parliament to Raise Issues Concerning Punjab Farmers

Congress MPs, including Sunil Jakhar and Gurjeet Singh Aujla, sat in protest outside Parliament premises to sell potatoes on Friday, 4 December, in a bid to raise awareness about the issues concerning Punjab farmers.

TDP MPs protesting for special status for Andhra Pradesh also joined the Congress MPs during their protest.

(Source: ANI)

(Photo: ANI)

Lok Sabha Discusses Recapitalisation of PSBs, NPAs

Gopal Chinayya Shetty, BJP, Mumbai-North (Maharashtra) raised questions on the improvement of banking sector. Several other questions were also raised by MPs questioning the government's decision to re-infuse taxpayers’ money into public sector banks.

Responding to the questions, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the NPAs disclosed by the PSBs were understated, ‘hidden’ and hence, it was imperative to infuse money to help the banks maintain their lending capabilities so that it does not hamper the economy.

AIADMK MPs Demand Bharat Ratna for Late J Jayalalithaa in RS

AIADMK MPs on Friday, 4 January, demanded that Bharat Ratna should be awarded to former CM of Tamil Nadu late J Jayalalithaa.

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi Slams Kerala Govt Over Sabarimala Row

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi on Friday, 4 January, accused the Kerala Government of not maintaining law and order in the state.

She said that the government had transported women in ambulances to Sabarimala, which she claimed, was the reason behind the death of one person and the suicides of four other followers of Lord Ayappa.

She accused those backing entry of women in Sabarimala as transgressors of religion and anti-religious. "They are not followers of Ayappa," she said.

Meanwhile, KC Venugopal, Congress MP, said: “We want peace in the state. We want a solution (to Sabarimala issue) . Otherwise, the government is promoting violence in the state.”

Want Defence Minister to Answer Ques on Rafale, Says Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday, 4 January, put out an open challenge to Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to answer questions pertaining to the Rafale deal.

“The PM ran away... refused to answer my questions. Now, the defence minister might speak on Rafale in the Lok Sabha... So, I want her to answer these questions on the deal,” Rahul said.

He then went on to list the following questions:

  • Who decided to raise the price of the Rafale aircraft in the new deal?
  • When the Air force required 126 planes, why were the number of aircraft reduced?
  • Who decided to give a contract to Anil Ambani?
  • Who shut out HAL from the deal?
  • Did the Defence Ministry object to the new deal? Are there documents that reflect these objections?

Following this, he also added, as per ANI: “Dassault company's internal emails have revealed that the Indian Government ordered them that offset contract should only be given to Anil Ambani. PM Modi gave Rs 30,000 Crore to Anil Ambani.”

Criminal Investigation on Rafale if Cong Comes to Power: Rahul

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday, 4 January, said if his party comes to power in 2019, a criminal investigation will be launched into the Rafale deal and the accused will be punished.

Speaking to the media outside Parliament ahead of the government's reply, he urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to answer the questions raised by the Congress on the multi-million dollar fighter jet deal.

"We and the entire opposition want that when defence minister speaks on the PM's behalf, the questions raised by us should be answered," Gandhi told reporters.

(Source: PTI)

TN Parties Walk Out of RS Over Cauvery Dam Issue

Tamil Nadu parties – AIADMK and DMK – on Friday staged a walkout from Rajya Sabha in protest against the central government’s refusal to withdraw permission for a feasibility report on construction of Mekedatu dam on Cauvery river in Karnataka.

Left party members too walked out of the House alleging political violence by the BJP in Kerala following a row over women's entry into Sabarimala temple.

Defence Minister Says 36 Rafale Jets to Be Delivered by 2022

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while addressing the Lok Sabha, said that the 36 aircrafts will be delivered to India by 2022. She said that the Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) was signed in September 2016 and the first aircraft will be delivered in three years from that date. She said that deliveries will be completed in 2022.

“The first aircraft will be delivered in September 2019 and 36 aircraft will be delivered in the year 2022. The process of negotiation was finished in 14 months.”
Nirmala Sitharam, Defence Minister

Defence Dealing is Different from Dealing in Defence: Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharam, the Union Defence Minister, said that the BJP does not do defence dealing, it deals in defence with national security as a priority.

Defence dealing and dealing with defence are different things.  
Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister

Cong Shedding Crocodile Tears Over HAL: Sitharaman

The defence Minister, while addressing the Lok Sabha, said that the Congress is shedding Crocodile tears over HAL, for not getting the Rafale deal. She accused Congress for not doing enough to make sure that HAL is equipped enough to produce the jets.

The number of extensions that this govt has given the HAL is recorded in the standing committee. If you really care about HAL, you’ll invest in them and make them better.
Nirmala Sitharaman

She also said that the Congress government gave 53 waivers to HAL. While the UPA has given contracts worth Rs 1 lakh crore to HAL.

Cong Stopped Rafale Deal as It 'Didn't Get the Money': Sitharaman

Hitting back at the Congress on the Rafale fighter jet deal, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday alleged that the party had stopped the deal when it was in power as it "didn't get the money" and ignored national security.

The BJP-led NDA government gave Rs one lakh crore worth of contracts to HAL, she said.

Taking on the Congress, the minister said, "You stopped the deal, forgetting Air Force was suffering. You didn't conclude the deal, because it didn't suit you. The deal didn't get you money."

"They did not intend to buy the aircraft till something else was done. There is something different between defence deal and deal in defence," she said, asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government gave priority to national security.

"You are misleading the country by saying the NDA government reduced 126 Rafale jets to 36. Congress was supposed to buy 18 in fly-away condition, the NDA raised that to 36," she said.

The delivery of first Rafale will happen in 2019, while the last aircraft of 36 jets will be delivered in 2022, the minister said.

She said the IAF always advises government to buy two squadrons, which is 36 aircraft instead of 18, in case of emergency purchases, the Minister said.

Defence Minister 'Ran Away' from My Questions on Rafale: Rahul

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave a long speech in Parliament but did not answer any of his posers on the Rafale deal and "ran away".

"The defence minister did not answer any of the questions I asked on the Rafale deal. She did not even take the name of Anil Ambani," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.

Gandhi said he put two questions to the minister towards the end of the debate and asked her to reply in yes or no.

"I asked that after a long negotiation process, those people who participated in that negotiations – Air Force chief, defence minister, secretaries, Air Force officials – when the prime minister did a 'bypass surgery'... did the Air Force people object, yes or know," Gandhi said.

"And you saw that instead of answering this, the defence minister started doing drama that 'I have been insulted, I was called a liar'," he said.

LS Passes Bill to Amend Aadhaar Act

Lok Sabha on Friday passed a bill to amend the Aadhaar Act and two related laws which will allow individuals to offer voluntarily biometric ID as a means of identity verification for obtaining services such as opening bank account and procuring mobile phone connection.

The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill proposes changes in the Aadhaar Act, Indian Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to comply with a Supreme Court judgement pronounced on 26 September 2018, in which it upheld the constitutional validity of unique identification project with certain restrictions and changes.

Triple Talaq: Cong Asks JD(U) to Exit NDA, BJP Downplays Its Ally's Stand

With the Janata Dal (United) firm in its opposition to a bill against triple talaq, the Congress on Friday said it was high time that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s party walked out of the BJP-led NDA, otherwise it will be wiped out from Bihar.

The BJP sought to downplay the divergent stance taken by the JD(U), its ally in Bihar, on the bill, saying "no difference of opinion within the NDA on the issue of development".

Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh said the JD(U) had sharp ideological differences with the BJP on important issues like the construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and on triple talaq.

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