Just three months after the Lok Sabha clocked its best performance in terms of transacting business in 15 years during the budget session, the monsoon session of Parliament saw the poorest performance of the Rajya Sabha in the same period.
The session that ended on Monday saw unprecedented acrimony between the Congress and BJP over the opposition party’s demand for resignations of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and her Madhya Pradesh counterpart, Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
While the Congress, for the first time, managed to wash out the session to a large extent, party president Sonia Gandhi came down to the Well of the House, a first for her in a 16-year-long parliamentary career.
The biggest casualty seemed to be the GST bill, though sources in the government said it would try to bring it later this month in an extension of the monsoon session.
The Rajya Sabha could not transact a single bill apart from the appropriation bills for railways and general budget. The Lok Sabha managed to pass six bills after the Speaker suspended 25 Congress MPs for unruly behaviour, leading to boycott of the House by some Opposition parties in protest.
The Parliament could pass the Delhi high court bill — earlier cleared in the Rajya Sabha — in the lower House during this session.
The previous worst performance of a session was the winter session of 2010 which flopped due to the then BJP-led Opposition’s protests over the 2G spectrum scandal. During that session, the Rajya Sabha could function for only 2% of its allotted time and the lower House just 6%.
During Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure, where the Congress had more than 400 seats in the lower House, the Parliament sessions always fully utilised allotted time.
The only bright spot of the session was that 91% of first-time MPs took part in debates.