The government denied charges of poor floor management and accused the BJP of u-turns on their promised support to certain bills on Wednesday.
"They said something outside the House and something else inside… There were occasions when they changed their mind," alleged Parliamentary Affairs Minister
P.K. Bansal alluding to the deferment of the Enemy Property, Educational Tribunal, Waqf Board and the Prevention of Torture bills in the Rajya Sabha which the Lok Sabha had passed with the Opposition’s help.
The minister indeed claimed satisfactory floor management as the government got a total of 24 bills passed by the two Houses over 26 sittings and responded sensitively to members’ concerns by deferring the Education Tribunal bill.
Privately, Congress leaders are unfazed by the holding up of these bills as their most contentious bill — the nuclear liability bill — was passed smoothly.
Denying that the Congress was a divided House, Bansal downplayed Congress MP K. Keshava Rao’s stringent criticism of the Education Tribunal bill as the member was also supporting it (and therefore not violating party discipline).
"Restraining a member from speaking is a breach of parliamentary privilege," said Bansal, adding that such expression of views reflected the essence of democracy.
But Sibal reportedly was so furious at the opposition, including his own colleagues, that he wanted the bill voted on even if it was defeated.
He was persuaded against it as it would have led to an embarrassing situation.
Bansal regretted that the session lost 45 hours in the Lok Sabha and 35 hours in the Rajya Sabha (some of which they made up by sitting late).
Of particular concern was that the Question Hour could not be taken up for nine days.