In a rare show of Unity, the Opposition in Lok Sabha staged a walkout on Wednesday over non-fulfilment of its demand to hold a discussion on the India-China border clash that occurred on December 9. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi led 18 parties, including Rashtriya Janata Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, MDMK, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI, Janata Dal-United, DMK, Trinamool Congress, and Telugu Desam Party, in the walkout during the Zero Hour.
As the Question Hour ended on Wednesday, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury demanded a discussion on the India-China border situation. He said former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had permitted discussion on the India-China war in the Lok Sabha in 1962.
Chowdhury said: “We demand a discussion on the India-China border situation. In 1962, when the Indo-China war broke out, Jawaharlal Nehru gave an opportunity to 165 MPs to speak in this House.”
Responding to the Congress leader’s demand, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that the decision will have to be taken at the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee. After that, the speaker proceeded with the proceedings of the House. Seeing this, the Congress as well as TMC staged a walkout in protest, accusing the government of not allowing a discussion on the India-China border issue.
TMC member Sudip Bandyopadhyay said that his party members were staging a walkout in protest against the government’s attitude.
Earlier in the day, Opposition members had staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha in protest against various issues. As soon as the proceedings of the House began, members of Congress and DMK wanted to speak on certain issues. However, the speaker disallowed it and told the protesting members that the Question Hour is important and must not be disrupted.
This prompted the members of other parties, including NCP and National Conference, walked out of the House during the Question Hour. Some of them were heard shouting “nahi chalega [This can’t go on]”. Some of those members returned to the House after a while.
The Free Press Journal quoted Congress MP Pramod Tiwari as saying, “All the 17 parties are standing behind the soldiers but we are all concerned about the issue which cannot be compromised in terms of the border issue. National security is a major concern.”