Saturday 22 October 2016

UPSC Row: Opposition Steps Up Attack on Govt

New Delhi

Opposition today stepped up attack on the government over the UPSC exam row, serving a privilege notice in the Rajya Sabha and forcing adjournment of the House demanding a definite time-frame to resolve the issue.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) accused the government of "going back on its promise" of resolving the issue expeditiously. Members from Congress, CPI-M, CPI, JD-U, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party joined hands on the issue.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar sought to cool the frayed tempers saying the government was making efforts to resolve the issue and would inform the House after finding a solution.

He said the government had replied three times on the issue knowing its sensitivity and feelings of the House.

"Government is sorting out the issue amicably to give justice...The issue was troubling the students for the last three years. We are sorting it out. As soon as there is a solution the House will be informed," Javadekar said.

As members kept pressing for a definite timeline and even asked the Chair to direct the government in this regard, he said, "We are sorting it out...Much sooner than they expect."

Opposition members, however, attacked DoPT Minister Jitender Singh over the issue saying that despite his promise to solve it within eight days, the matter is yet to be resolved though 12 days have been passed.

"The government broke the promise it made. It went back on the promise made to students," Yadav, who gave a privilege notice, said.

Kurien said the notice is under consideration with Chairman Hamid Ansari who will take a decision on it.

Supporting him, Naresh Agarwal (SP) said the government seems to have slipped into coma and ministers do not reply when the Prime Minister is not around. "We have never seen such a helpless government," he said.

S C Mishra (BSP) urged the Chair to direct the government for a reply as lakhs of students were affected and their future has become bleak due to deadlock over the issue as hardly a fortnight was left in the UPSC examinations.

Deputy Leader of Congress in House Anand Sharma said it was a serious matter and delay in solving it was causing tension and students were subjected to assaults. "The nation is concerned and the government should come out with an assurance," he said.

His party colleague Pramod Tiwari said the Chair had asked the government to expedite the matter but no resolution is in the sight and hence the government has shown disrespect not only to the House, but to the Chair.

Trying to maintain order in the House, Kurien interrupted asking Javadekar, "can you give a timeframe" to which Javadekar said government would soon resolve the issue pending for last three years.

On this Kurien told the Opposition, "The Chair cannot do more than that. Now allow calling attention motion to be taken up," to which Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said it has become a practice with the government to blame the previous regime for delays for each and everything.

"Lakhs of students from states were being affected due to this and government continues to postpone it," he said.

Kurien remarked the Chair cannot give any direction to the government to which Naresh Agarwal (SP) raised a point of order and quoting rule said there has been no limit to Chair's power.

Derek O'Brien (TMC) said ministers were silent in the House whereas they were giving bytes to media outside and demanded they should be asked to stop briefing media when Parliament is in session.

A number of members including Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) supported Agarwal urging the Chairman to give direction to government for a definite timeframe for resolving the matter to which Kurein retorted, "It is my discretion whether to give direction or not" and exercising powers I have already asked the government to come back.

However, this failed to satisfy members who remained adamant on a timeline. SP members trooped into the Well shouting slogans, forcing Kurien to adjourn the House till 2 PM.

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