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Repeated clashes between ruling, oppn sides in LS

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha today witnessed repeated clashes between the opposition and the ruling sides on issues like farmers’ suicide, funds for MGNREGA and formation of a BJP government in Goa.

As the House was discussing Supplementary Demands for Grants (General), K C Venugopal (Cong) charged the Modi government with providing little funds for the MGNREGA. He claimed the Rs 1000 crore hike was negligible as compared to the benefits it was extending to the rural populace.

He said earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dubbed the scheme as a “monument of Congress failure” but had later praised it. Despite the praise, the scheme has seen only one per cent hike in allocation, he said.

In the course of his speech, Venugopal referred to suicides by farmers and said a group of farmers from Tamil Nadu were protesting at Jantar Mantar here with the “skulls” of those who had commited suicide.

Senior AIADMK leader and Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai took exception to the remarks regarding skulls and said these were baseless. He maintained that Tamil Nadu government was taking care of the issues of the farming community.

Tathagat Satpathy (BJD) too questioned the remarks of Venugopal, leading to a war of words between them.

Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge intervened, saying his party colleague was not referring to a particular state but highlighting the plight of farmers across India. He also questioned the demonetisation move and its effects on the GDP.

Venugopal questioned the decision of the government to waive farmers’ loan in Uttar Pradesh and said such loans should be waived off in the entire country.

When some BJP members questioned Venugopal on farm loans, he said Congress has all the rights to seek a nationwide waiver as the previous UPA government had done so.

Referring to the Prime Minister’s statement that democracy needed to be strengthened, Venugopal alleged that the Finance Minister and then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar were involved in placing a BJP government in Goa despite lacking the numbers. He said the move was “unethical”.

His remarks were countered by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar who said Venugopal should avoid speaking on “irrelevant things” and should give a separate notice on the issue so that the House can discuss it.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan made it clear that she has expunged the remarks by Venugopal on Goa government formation.

–PTI