The first working day of the Budget session of Rajya Sabha was a washout today with the House failing to transact any business due to the continued uproar created by BSP members, led by their chief Mayawati, over the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula.
Amid repeated adjournments, tempers ran high whenever the House met for brief periods and even saw clashes between Mayawati and HRD Minister Smriti Irani who accused the opposition of using a “dead child” (Rohith) as “a political tool and strategy”.
Mayawati, who wanted inclusion of a Dalit member in a committee that is probing Vemula’s death, accused the government of trying to “neglect” his issue, while Irani said she was ready to reply to all questions and if the BSP leader was not satisfied, “I am ready to behead myself and lay it on your feet.”
Trouble started as soon as the House met for the day with Mayawati speaking about Vemula issue.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the issue is already listed for a discussion later in the day and if the House agreed, it could be taken up right away.
He asked the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and others who agreed to take up the discussion right then.
However, Mayawati continued to speak, pressing for an answer as to whether a Dalit would be included in a committee that is probing Vemula’s death.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said all these issues could be answered when the minister replies to a proper debate.
At this, BSP members trooped into the Well and started shouting slogans, forcing an adjournment of 10 minutes.
Similar scenes prevailed and the House was adjourned repeatedly after it met for brief periods. The House was finally adjourned for the day soon after 4 PM.