PM meets ministers as Adani row stalls Parliament second day

The Asian Age.  | Age Correspondent

India, All India

The Opposition members were on their feet, shouting slogans and demanding an investigation into the Adani case

Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha during Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. (Photo: PTI)

NEW DELHI: Proceedings of both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day on Friday to reconvene on Monday as the Opposition members continued sloganeering, demanding a debate and a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the allegations of fraud against the Adani Group.

It is learnt that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to discuss the proceedings of the ongoing Budget Session amid Opposition's uproar over the Adani issue. Several Union ministers and senior BJP leaders attended the meeting. The Opposition parties have been demanding a discussion and a probe into the allegations levelled in the Hindenburg's Adani report.

A day after they unitedly led the charge against the government over the Adani issue, at least 16 Opposition parties met on Friday morning to coordinate their strategy in Parliament on the issue and decided to step up their attack on the government, demanding an immediate discussion.

As soon as the Lok Sabha convened for the day, the Opposition members were on their feet, shouting slogans and demanding an investigation into the Adani case.

Speaker Om Birla appealed to members to stop their protests and participate in the discussions. An unrelenting Opposition, however, continued their protests and sloganeering, forcing Birla to adjourn the proceedings till 2 pm. The Opposition members continued with their demand after the House met for the second time in the day.

Amid sloganeering from the Opposition, Rajendra Agarwal, who was in the Chair, allowed the laying of parliamentary papers in the House. Agarwal urged the Opposition members to return to their seats and allow discussion on the "Motion of Thanks" on the President's address to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament. As protests continued, he adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day.

Similar scenes played out in the Uppar House. First, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2.30 pm and later for the day to reconvene on Monday.

As the House met in the morning, Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar rejected the 15 adjournment notices filed by the members of several Opposition parties to discuss the Adani issue. As the uproar continued, the chairman adjourned the House till 2.30 pm. When the Rajya Sabha reconvened after lunch, the Opposition members continued their demand, while Dhankhar urged the members to maintain order and allow the House's business to be taken up.
As the Opposition members continued their protest, the chairman adjourned the proceedings of the House for the day.

Among the 16 parties whose leaders met in the chamber of the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge are the Congress, DMK, SP, AAP, BRS, Shiv Sena (UBT), RJD, JDU, CPM, CPI, NCP, NC, IUML, Kerala Congress (Jose Mani), K.C. (Thomas) and the RSP.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the Opposition's demand remains the same. "Only an independent investigation will save LIC, SBI and other institutions forced by the Prime Minister to invest in the Adani Group," Ramesh said.

The Congress has been alleging that the investments made by the public sector undertakings — LIC and SBI — into the Adani group have been forced by the Prime Minister.

The government, meanwhile, has not responded to the issue so far. The Adani Group stocks, where LIC is heavily invested, have lost over $100 billion in value since a tiny New York short seller came out with a damning report alleging financial and accounting fraud by the ports-to-energy conglomerate. The Adani Group has denied all charges and called the report malicious and full of lies.

As the slide in Adani Group stocks continued in the markets on Friday, the Opposition said the rout has threatened the value of investments made by the LIC and public sector banks.