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BJP wants recall of Gujarat governor; Parliament adjourned

New Delhi: Both houses of parliament were adjourned for the day Tuesday following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) vociferous demand for the recall of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal for appointing the Lokayukta without consulting the state government.

The two houses saw repeated adjournments on the issue with the BJP members in the Lok Sabha raising the issue soon after the house met in the morning and in the Rajya Sabha after the question hour.

The Lok Sabha saw two adjournments before being adjourned for the day following persistent protest by BJP members. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned three times before its adjournment for the day. The demand for Beniwal’s recall was made by senior BJP leader L.K. Advani in the Lok Sabha and Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha.

Advani alleged “violation of federal structure” in the appointment of Justice (retd) R.A. Mehta as the state Lokayukta by the governor. “We will go to President Pratibha Patil to demand the recall of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal,” said Advani, adding that the appointment of the Lokayukta was done without consulting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the governor should be impartial and should appoint the Lokayukta on the advice of the chief minister and the council of ministers. The party had given notice to suspend question hour to raise the issue.

The house was first adjourned till 12 noon after BJP members rushed towards the speaker’s podium. The unrest continued after the house met following the adjournment. The chair allowed Advani to complete his speech amid disruptions from Congress members. However, noisy scenes continued and the house was then adjourned till 2 p.m. When the house reassembled, BJP members were again on their feet raising the issue. Satpal Maharaj, who was in the chair, adjourned the house for the day.

In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley demanded recall of the Gujarat governor. He alleged that the constitutional crisis in the state had been “created at the behest of people in power in New Delhi”. If the central government succeeds in the appointment of the Lokayukta without consultation of the state government, the precedent would be repeated in every state, he said.

Jaitley added that the constitution mandates the governor act on the advice of the state cabinet. The house was twice adjourned for 10 minutes following noisy scenes by the BJP members and later till 2 p.m.

After Jaitley got up to speak, Chairman Hamid Ansari pointed to conventions and rules of the house on discussing matters concerning persons holding high offices. Jaitley said there were precedents when even recall of governor had been discussed in parliament.

BJP members got up from their seats to support Jaitley, leading to noisy scenes in the house following which the house was adjourned for 10 minutes. When the house resumed its proceedings, Jaitley completed his speech. BJP members, however, raised slogans demanding a reply from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Ansari again adjourned the house for 10 minutes.

The BJP members continued their protest when the house met again. Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan adjourned the house till 2 p.m. Similar scenes were witnessed when the house reassembled. P.J. Kurien, who was in the chair, repeatedly urged BJP members to resume their seats.

Amid the din, the house passed State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks Laws) Amendment Bill, 2011. The house was later adjourned for the day.

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