New Delhi: The Parliament session post 2 pm in Rajya Sabha started on a tumultuous note after the first half resonated with the AgustaWestland controversy. Congress president Sonia Gandhi took the fight back to the NDA after her name was dragged in the kickbacks row. In the latest, the drought situation was debated with the Centre and state government’s trading barbs with the Opposition over IPL hogging water resources in dry areas.

Earlier, refusing to adjourn the Rajya Sabha, the Deputy Speaker had said, “It is necessary that the concerned minister should be present but if other Cabinet ministers are present in her place, then the short duration discussion can continue.”

To this, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav said, “If the government was serious about the drought crisis, the minister should have been here.” 

Defending her govt, Union Minster Uma Bharti assured the opposition that the BJP is ready to deal with the water crisis. “We have a plan to deal with the water crisis. We need support from the state governments to tackle the issue,” Bharti said. 

However, the Union Minister had said in an interview that drought is an event and it’s pointless to plan for it in advance.

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07.10 pm: Ghulam Nabi Azad says that the opposition has given the most unsatisfactory answers. 

06.45 pm: Criticising the Centre, Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition said that the BJP has brought with it the water crisis and dried the nation with its unsuccessful policies.

05.50 pm: For the first time, water trains have been sent to the drought affected areas, says Uma Bharti.

05.35 pm: Answering the questions on drought in Maharashtra, Union Minister Uma Bharti said that the state has received more than 10000 crore to tackle the water crisis.
05.20 pm: Among 24 districts in Jharkhand, 22 are drought affected.
05.10 pm: Give some relief to farmers with loans, says Balwinder Singh Bhunder of SAD.
04.35 pm: We talk of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and we don’t have water in the cities, Indian National Congress leader Ahmed Patel says. “People are suffering because govt didn’t properly,” Patel adds.
04.05 pm: Ground situation is vulnerable. There is no water to drink in Andhra Pradesh, says Dr. Raja of CPI.
03.40 pm: Develop long term strategy to address the water crisis with concrete solutions, Rajeev Chandrasekhar says.
03.30 pm: Regularize the MGNREGA scheme, says CPI(M) leader Tapan Kumar Sen.

03.20 pm: Rajpal Singh Saini of BSP says that water is being transported for IPL matches but not to drought affected areas.

03.15 pm: Samajwadi Party raises salary hike issue in the Rajya Sabha.

02.59 pm: Ajay Sancheti, BJP, Maharashtra says irrigation and river-linking have gained momentum.

02.54: Narendra Modi is trying to weaken the MGNREGA scheme, says Rajani Patil of INC.

02.15 PM: “We have a copy of the Italian Court order, its being translated into English,” says Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy urged the grand-old party to support the probe. “I can’t corner the Congress Party, they have got nothing to hide. They must support me. I am only saying that expand the investigation of the CBI, because you had set up the CBI and you confined it only to the Air Marshal, and now, the Chief of Air Staff says he only signed the documents put before him by the UPA ministers,” Swamy said.
“You (Congress) have already few names from Italy, in the document form, and more importantly, it is a judgment of a high court level in Italy,” he added.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi was equally swift in her counter. “These things are just falsehood. Where are the proofs, they are lies, they are part of the strategy of character assassination for which we have known these people indulging in,” Gandhi said. “These people have been in the government for two years and the enquiry is on, why they don’t complete it quickly as soon as possible, an impartial inquiry and everything will come out, the truth will come out,” she told NewsX.

1.00 PM: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 pm

12.30 PM: The Govt is there, agencies are there, then they must investigate, said senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

Sonia Gandhi hit out at the BJP saying that the allegations are baselss and part of the strategy of character assasination

12:00 PM: Sonia Gandhi says she’s not afraid of anyone.

11.40 AM: House adjourned till 12 pm.

11.38 AM: Congress MPs protest in the well of the house.

11.25 AM: Rajya Sabha adjourned after Congress creates ruckus.

BJP on Wednesday attacked Congress by raising the AgustaWestland issue in the Parliament on Wednesday. The Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, however, said that she is not afraid of anyone.

11.20 AM: Subramanian Swamy’ speech kicks off storm in the Rajya Sabha.

Also read AgustaWestland row: Swamy seeks ‘Concerned’ Congress’ support

11.15 AM: Debate over AgustaWestland begins in Rajya Sabha.

10.45 AM: Congress gives notice for debate on AgustaWestland in Rajya Sabha.

10.10 AM:  Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that his party is ready to discuss the AgustaWestland issue in Parliament.