Lok Sabha/ Congress stages protest over electoral bonds, privatisation of PSUs

New Delhi: The opposition Congress on Thursday raised in Lok Sabha the issue of electoral bonds, saying it has made corruption “official”. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Manish Tewari said despite reservations expressed by the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission, the government went ahead with the scheme.

Congress members later walked out of proceedings. Under the electoral bonds scheme, the government has offered complete anonymity to those making donations. A donor could now anonymously buy a bond and deposit it with the political party of his or her choice. 

Congress staged protests in Lok Sabha against privatisation of a few PSUs, including Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). 

However, Congress members returned to their seats after the protests and sloganeering in the Well of the House for about 15 minutes when Speaker Om Birla assured them that they will be allowed to raise issues during Zero Hour. 

“This is a big scam. The country is being looted. Please allow us to speak,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said. However, Speaker Birla told members that the MPs should not lower the dignity of the House by coming into the Well.  

The Speaker said the Question Hour is very important and the MPs should not disrupt proceedings. “I am a new member. You are senior. Don’t come to the Well. Maintain the convention,” Birla said, adding he has not admitted the adjournment motion moved by the Congress but is ready to allow the party to speak during Zero Hour. With this, the Congress MPs went to their seats.