Kurien chairs Rajya Sabha despite demand for resignation

P J Kurien

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who is in the eye of a storm over the Left demand for his resignation in the wake of fresh charges in the Suryanelli gangrape case, today presided over the Upper House without objection from any member.

Kurien conducted the proceedings during the post-lunch session when a discussion on Hyderabad twin blasts was underway and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was replying to the members' clarifications.

While Chairman Hamid Ansari presided over the proceedings for most part of the day, Kurien was in the Chair towards the end of the day's sitting.

Incidentally, when Kurien was in the Chair members of the Left parties were not present in the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had yesterday said he would be making a statement on the Kurien issue in the Rajya Sabha soon after it would assemble for the day. But this could not happen in view of the changed circumstances in the wake of Hyderabad blasts.

Nath had rejected the Left pleas against Kurien insisting that matters of state politics cannot be entertained in Parliament.

Left parties appeared isolated on the Kurien issue at the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the Upper House when the matter was raised.

The Left is expected to raise the Kurien issue on Tuesday when the House reassembles after a three-day break.

Kurien, who is under attack since the victim and the sole convict in the case demanded recently that he be made an accused in the case, has been facing the heat with the Left staging strong protests against him.

Ahead of the Budget session of Parliament, Kurien had written to members of the House, saying three police inquiries and two judicial processes have cleared him in the 17-year-old case. He had earlier met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Ansari, who is also the RS Chairman.

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