x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

India's parliament disrupted by protests

India's parliament has been disrupted on the opening day of the monsoon session as the ruling Congress and opposition parties wrangle over key legislation.

Delhi // India's parliament was disrupted on the opening day of the monsoon session as the ruling Congress and opposition parties wrangle over key legislation before an election that must be held by May 2014.

The upper and lower houses were adjourned this morning after MPs from Andhra Pradesh objected to the government's plan to split the southern state into two. They shouted slogans and waved banners, forcing the speakers in both houses to halt proceedings. Parliament resumed at noon after a break.

"We have wasted lot of time in the previous two or three sessions and I hope that will be not be repeated," prime minister Manmohan Singh said yesterday before the session began. "I appeal to the opposition to cooperate with the government in smooth running of this session, and to ensure that this session will be productive."

Mr Singh's government, weakened by corruption allegations and the departure of coalition allies, has passed the fewest number of bills ever by a government sitting a five-year term. With just the monsoon and winter sessions left this year before general elections, Mr Singh is running out of time to complete his agenda amid the slowest pace of economic growth in a decade.

India's ruling Congress party decided last week to back the creation of a new province in the south of the country, a redrawing of boundaries that has triggered protests and fuelled similar demands for separate statehood elsewhere.