New Delhi: Parliament on Monday was adjourned till noon amid vociferous protests by the Opposition over the recent hike in petrol prices. Members of Left parties, Trinamool and AIADMK trooped into the Well of the Lok Sabha while BJP members shouted slogans from their seats against the hike.
In the Rajya Sabha, members were seen protesting from the aisles. It was trouble from the word go in the Lok Sabha. As soon as Speaker Meira Kumar made the obituary references, Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) was on his feet demanding that Question Hour be suspended and the House take up discussion on the petrol price hike.
"I have given notice for suspension of Question Hour," he said as the Speaker called for the Question Hour. State-owned oil companies had on March 1 announced a Rs 1.40 per litre increase in petrol price.
As Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) put a supplementary question to Defence Minister AK Antony on the controversial VVIP helicopter deal, Left, Trinamool Congress and AIADMK members trooped into the Well raising slogans against the hike.
Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) was seen exhorting his party colleagues to join him in the Well. The noise grew louder as Antony replied to the question on the chopper deal. As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon.
Rajya Sabha witnessed two adjournments in the pre-noon session with Opposition parties and ruling UPA ally SP seeking a roll back. When the House met for the day, Derek O'Brien (TMC) raised the issue of petrol prices being raised a day after the Union Budget was presented.
"This is not a Question Hour matter," Chairman Hamid Ansari observed, as SP members too joined the protest. "Let the Question Hour run, please," Ansari pleaded. At this point, BJP, Left, JD(U) and AIADMK members too joined the protest. Ansari said if members want a discussions, they should give notice.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue but this did not pacify members who demanded the hike be rolled back.
At this point, Ansari adjourned the House for 10 minutes. When the House reassembled, similar scenes were witnessed as SP members started moving into aisles raising slogans demanding a rollback.
Shukla reiterated that the government was ready for a discussion but members were unrelenting. Ansari then adjourned the House till noon. Petrol price was deregulated by the government in June 2010, giving oil PSUs the power to revise pump rates in line with cost of production.
The recent spurt in international oil prices and depreciation of rupee have necessitated the increase, the oil firms said while announcing the hike.