Graft allegations stall India's parliament, and economic reforms

By REUTERS
July 21, 2015 11:14
1 minute read.

NEW DELHI - India's parliament was adjourned on the first day of a new session after opposition lawmakers demanded the resignation of leaders tainted by corruption allegations, deepening an impasse that has stalled the government's reform agenda.

Members of the opposition Congress party on Tuesday stormed the well of the chamber in the upper house, shouting slogans and forcing the speaker to halt proceedings.

Parliament is set to resume in the afternoon after a break.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for the opposition to work with the government.

"We want to take the country forward," Modi said on his way into parliament. "I hope parliament will respect the country's aspirations."

In the monsoon sitting of parliament, the government's main goal is to ease the passage of the biggest overhaul of taxes since independence in 1947. All eyes are on the upper house, where the government and its allies are a minority.

Passing the measure would be a victory for Modi and go some way to reassuring investors who are growing jittery that economic modernisation is happening too slowly.

Modi is under pressure from the opposition to fire his foreign minister and a state leader amid claims they gave favours to a sports tycoon living in London who faces allegations of tax evasion.

Separately, the chief minister of a central Indian state governed by Modi's party is on the defensive over the deaths of witnesses involved in a massive fraud in entrance exams for college and government jobs.


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