New Delhi: Opposition parties led by the Congress has prepared a draft letter to protest certain actions of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and complain against him of what they allege, is his partisan role in conducting the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha. The parties are waiting for an appropriate time to hand over the letter to the Rajya Sabha chairman.
This is the first time that such a letter will be sent to the Rajya Sabha chairman.
Venkaiah Naidu's counterpart in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has already received one such rejoinder this Monsoon Session.
In the letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker, eight opposition leaders had questioned how she had dealt with their attempt to move a no-trust motion against the government in the last session (Budget Session).
According to NDTV sources, apart from the Congress, leaders from Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party had agreed to the move.
"Some more parties are expected to join in," a senior opposition leader told NDTV.
A Congress leader said the parties had been discussing how to clearly convey their anguish to the presiding officer for some time, had debated harsher steps, but for now, had settled for a letter to send its message.
The list of allegations against Venkaiah Naidu includes that he “doesn’t allow opposition parties any space for debate, favours ruling party (BJP) members and adjourns the house according to his whims and fancies,” Hindustan Times quoted an opposition leader saying.
Sources to NDTV said that the letter by the opposition parties is broadly expected to underline three points
One, is the growing perception among opposition that television channel run by the Rajya Sabha secretariat was being used to run down the opposition and propagate the ruling party's view.
Opposition said they were also annoyed with the suspicious manner in which two questions asked in parliament and the government's response recently disappeared from the Rajya Sabha website. They returned only after media reports about the omission.
These two related to the amount of demonetised currency notes received by cooperative banks including one in which, the Congress said, BJP president Amit Shah was on the board.
Inside the house, the opposition has repeatedly questioned the conduct of the House when BJP president Amit Shah was speaking this week.
When opposition members objected to a disparaging comment Amit Shah made to former prime ministers in his speech on the row over Assam citizens' list on Tuesday, the Rajya Sabha chairman had adjourned the house.
What opposition members found curious was that the House was adjourned at 1 pm for just 10 minutes rather than break for lunch as has been the tradition. According to reports, the 10-minute adjournment happened for the first time in the history of Rajya Sabha. They said it looked as if it was done to allow the BJP president Amit Shah to complete his speech.”
"Sir, why are you calling a break like this? It is ten past one," Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien asked about the unusually short break when the house resumed.
"First you answer, why is this disturbance?" Venkaiah Naidu shot back. The house had to be adjourned for the day a few minutes later.
On Wednesday, opposition leaders again found it odd that the chairman invited Amit Shah to complete his speech that he had not been able to conclude due to disruptions rather than straightaway ask Home Minister Rajnath Singh to respond.
“Naidu is supposed to be the umpire but at times he acts like a player,” Hindustan Times quoted an opposition leader as saying.
There is, however, no clarity when the opposition leaders would submit their letter....