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
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.
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.