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Uproar in LS over minister’s absence
New Delhi, Apr 22 (IANS)
Published on 22 Apr. 2010 10:57 PM IST
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The opposition parties caused disruption in the Lok Sabha Thursday as Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M.K. Alagiri failed to show up during question hour.
The uproar began when Speaker Meira Kumar invited Alagiri’s deputy Srikant Jena to answer a listed question by Kachchadia Naranbhai.
“The honourable minister is missing,” Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left, AIADMK and some other MPs stood up to protest against the minister’s absence.
M. Thambi Durai, leader of the AIADMK in the Lok Sabha, BJP’s Yashwant Sinha and Communist Party of India-Marixist’s (CPI-M) Basudeb Acharia led the protest. DMK members put a spirited defence of their colleague.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the minister was abroad and the rules permit the minister of state to answer questions related to the ministry.
Sushma Swaraj said that when parliament was in session, the minister’s first duty is to be present in the house. “One year has passed and he (Alagiri) is never seen in parliament.”
She also asked whether Alagiri took the speaker’s permission before going abroad when the parliament is in session.
Defending Alagiri, Mukherjee said: “He (Alagiri) is a regular member. So it is not correct that he has never come (to parliament).”
Amid the uproar, the speaker said: “I have authorised Jena to answer questions during question hour.”
Alagiri has been absent for many days during the budget and winter sessions of parliament.
Alagiri, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, had sought the speaker’s permission to answer questions in Tamil as he is not comfortable speaking in English or Hindi.

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