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Opposition members walk out of defence panel meet over refusal to discuss Agnipath scheme

They argued that not allowing a discussion on it amounted to insult to Parliament

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Opposition members, on Friday, staged a walkout from a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, alleging they were not allowed to discuss the Agnipath scheme, sources said.

They said members of Congress and BSP urged committee chairman Jual Oram to allow a discussion on the Agnipath scheme, arguing it has huge implications and required parliamentary scrutiny, but were denied permission.

They said Congress MPs K.C. Venugopal and Uttam Kumar Reddy, besides BSP's Danish Ali, who are members of the panel, argued with the chairman that the Agnipath scheme has already been discussed in the Consultative Committee on Defence and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the three service chiefs made a presentation before it.

The members are also learnt to have argued with the chairman that not allowing a discussion on Agnipath amounted to an insult to Parliament and not informing the committee about the scheme is breach of privilege.

They urged him to list the issue for discussion in the next meeting, but the chairman denied permission, the sources said.

The sources added that Oram is learnt to have said the issues to be discussed at the Parliamentary Standing Committee meetings are decided in advance at the beginning of the year and hence this request cannot be entertained now.

After almost half an hour of discussion in the panel meeting, the three opposition members staged a walkout in protest.

Issues concerning ordnance factory boards and DRDO had been listed for discussion at the meeting.


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