New Delhi, July 22 : Debate and deliberations in parliament reached a new low on Tuesday when BJP and other opposition Members of Parliament trooped into the Well of the Lok Sabha, waving bundles of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes, and claimed that they had been paid off by the Samajwadi Party to abstain from this evening's trust vote.
Proceedings in the Lower House were brought to a complete standstill and mikes were switched off, as pandemonium reigned in the wake of this disclosure.
The live coverage of the Lok Sabha was momentarily stopped.
Treasury and Opposition members traded charges and counter-charges, and it is understood that voting on the UPA Government's confidence motion will be delayed, and may not start at the scheduled time of 6 p.m. It was also being rumoured that the voting may not be held at all today, and could be postponed till Wednesday.
Talking to media persons outside Parliament, Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani confirmed that three BJP MP's - two from Madhya Pradesh and one from Rajasthan, had informed him of the alleged cash transaction or buyout.
He said that the BJP MP's from Madhya Pradesh were (1) Ashok Chhaviram Argal, 39, representing the Morena (SC) constituency, (2) Faggan Singh Kulaste, 48, representing the Mandla (ST) constituency and the third was Mahaveer Bhagora, 61, representing the Salumber (SC) constituency in Rajasthan.
Advani said that these three MPs had alleged that they had been offered around Rs.1 crore in advance and they were told that the balance amount of Rupees nine crores after they had abstained from the voting process.
Advani further went on to say that these MPs' approached one of the television channels to conduct a sting operation during the process of transaction
Advani refused to reveal the identity of the person behind the transaction, saying that he would reveal it on the floor of the House.
Reacting to the charge, Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Yadav said: " The money belongs to the BJP." He demanded that a narco analysis test be conducted on all three parliamentarians.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Prithviraj Chavan, said that an all-party meeting has been convened to discuss this latest charge, while the Deputy Leader of the RJD in the Lok Sabha, Devendra Prasad Yadav said that the matter should be thoroughly investigated before any final conclusions were drawn.
BJP President Rajnath Singh said this episode has shamed the prestige and importance of the parliament system in India, and replying to a question, said that if the Speaker wanted to extend the duration of this special session, the BJP and the NDA is ready for it.
CPI-M leader Brinda Karat said: "This incident is a blot on the parliamentary system in India, and this indicates how low this government can go to stay in power." By Pankaj Yadav (ANI)
© 2007 ANI