The Hindu Business Line

Winter Session ends as blame game continues

Least productive session in last 15 years as sittings in the Lok Sabha lasted only 19 hours

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Both Houses of Parliament adjourned sine die on Friday, without discussing the issue of demonetisa­tion that has affected almost all of the people in the country.

According to the Parliament­ary Affairs Ministry, the session was one of the least productive sessions of Parliament.

In his characteri­stic style, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari said peace prevailed in the Upper House “only when obituaries were read”.

Apparently unhappy with the treasury benches too storming to the aisles of the seats, Ansari said the prohibitio­n in the rules about shouting slogans, displaying posters and obstructin­g proceeding­s by leaving their assigned places, was consistent­ly ignored by all sections of the House.

Urging the members to introspect on the distinctio­n between dissent, disruption and agitation, he said: “Regular and continuous disruption­s characteri­sed the session. The symbolism of dignified protest, so essential for orderly conduct of Parliament­ary proceeding­s, was abandoned. This deprived Members of the opportunit­y to seek accountabi­lity of the Executive through Questions and discussion­s on matters of public interest.”

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said disruption­s malign the image of the House in the eyes of people. “This is not a good thing for all of us and this maligns our image in the eyes of people,” she said the future sessions would be more fruitful and productive.

“I am hopeful of getting support of all political parties and members,” she said regretting that 21 sittings of the Lower House lasted only 19 hours.

Former Secretary General of Lok Sabha, PDT Achary, said the moral authority for non-functionin­g of the House is on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The government is largely responsibl­e for the functionin­g of the House. The Prime Minister should reach out to Opposition leaders to end the impasse,” Achary said.

Congress defiant

The Opposition Congress alleged that even Parliament­ary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar wanted no discussion­s and was seen provoking the Opposition members.

“We were ready for discussion since yesterday. But the Parliament­ary Affairs Minister made reckless charges,” Congress leader Mallikarju­n Kharge said referring to the AgustaWest­land issue raised by Kumar on Thursday.

Countering this, Kumar said that Parliament could not function smoothly and successful­ly due to the Opposition, especially the Congress’ disjointed and blindfolde­d strategy to obstruct.

He said that in Rajya Sabha, the Opposition did not cite any rule, but in Lok Sabha, they first wanted a discussion under Rule 56, then moved to Rule 184.

“After it was listed under Rule 193 (short duration), the Congress came with a proposal that all rules can be set aside and Rahul Gandhi should be allowed to start the discussion, but by then Jitendra Reddy (TRS) had already started the discussion,” Kumar said in a press conference.

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