New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) The introduction of a bill to establish a central agricultural university in Bundelkhand region, spread across Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, was deferred amid opposition protests in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday.
This comes as another embarrassment for the government, a day after the constitutional amendment to give statutory status to Lokpal was defeated in the Lok Sabha.
As the Rajya Sabha met for the day, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar rose to introduce the Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agriculture University Bill.
Opposition members, however, objected stating that agriculture education is a state subject and the central government cannot set up the university in Bundelkhand.
"Centre has no jurisdiction to legislate in state subject," P. Rajeeve of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said.
Agriculture, including agricultural education and research, is a state subject - according to the constitution.
Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal intervened to defend his cabinet colleague and pointed out to Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan that education was in the concurrent list.
He said a central agriculture university has been earlier created in Imphal in Manipur.
After listening to both sides, Khan decided to grant leave for introduction of the bill.
A united opposition, however, said 'no' for introducing the bill and demanded a division.
But following this, the house was adjourned thrice, first for half an hour at 11.15 a.m. amid the ruckus, then till noon, and then again for 10 minutes.
When the house reconvened at 12.10 p.m., Khan announced that the bill has been deferred.
The proposal for the agriculture university was approved by the union cabinet in November. It is to have two colleges each in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with headquarters in Jhansi.