The maiden session of 15th Lok Sabha, which concluded on Friday, witnessed a marked improvement in the number of working hours compared with the previous years, probably indicating a shift in the strategies of both the ruling alliance and opposition in their conduct in Parliament.
The House functioned for 100 hours more during this session, than it did five years ago in the first session of the UPA government.
In July 2004, Lok Sabha worked for merely 92 hours in a 24-day session, five years later, in a 26-day session, the House transacted business for 191 hours, according to the data compiled by a research organisation, PRS Legislative Research.
One of the main reasons for the largely smooth conduct of the session seems to be the outcome of general elections this time. This was clearly reflected in the demoralised opposition during the beginning of the session. Though the government did provide it ammunition due to unpreparedness of some ministers.
The main opposition, BJP, which was shocked with the loss of power in 2004 and resorted to frequent disruptions in both the Houses that time, seems to have changed its strategy.
The party participated in proceedings and wasted no opportunity in embarrassing the government, whether it be on absence of ministers in the House or failure of ministers to give convincing replies.
“For us, it has been a very satisfying session. There were a series of embarrassments for the government. They have together tied themselves into knots,” Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, L K Advani said.
Party leaders admit the strategy of disrupting parliamentary proceedings during the past five years, was not approved of by the people of the country.
On the other hand, the government feels it allowed all issues to be discussed and that was the reason for the largely smooth conduct of the House.
“We were willing to discuss everything that the Parliament permits. We want more sittings of the session. We are planning to discuss with the opposition parties, the possibility of a six-week winter session,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal said.
Rajya Sabha functioned for 148 hours during the 26-day session. Chairman Hamid Ansari expressed satisfaction at the proceedings, but pointed out that Question Hour was lost due to disruptions on four days.
“It is hoped that collective wisdom of House of Elders will bring forth an arrangement by which the concern of members can be expressed without transgressing on the rights of fellow members to seek answers on carefully crafted questions.”