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MPs play blame game as Parliament ends abruptly

india Updated: Sep 11, 2007 14:32 IST

IANS
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Acrimony, agitations and adjournments. Another Parliament session ended ahead of schedule with little work being done and political parties blaming one another for the impasse.

The monsoon session, which began on Aug 10 and was scheduled to go on till Friday, ended abruptly on Monday four days earlier, the third consecutive Parliament session to do so.

While ruling party MPs blamed the opposition for making "unjustified" demands and creating a ruckus in the house, the opposition blamed the government's "insensitivity" for the early adjournment.

The sticking point this time was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition's insistence that it would not allow Parliament to function unless its demand to set up a joint Parliamentary committee (JPC) on the India-US nuclear deal was agreed to. The government rejected the demand saying that a bilateral agreement need not be ratified by Parliament.

The Left parties maintained that the opposition had given "an easy way out" to the government that would have otherwise been grilled on various issues.

"It was advantage government," said P. Karunakaran, deputy leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the Lok Sabha.

"The treasury benches managed to pass the bills without any discussion. We had many reservations on the bills that were passed. They had an easy way out," added Karunakaran, whose CPI-M and allies provide outside support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government.

The Lok Sabha passed 10 bills, four of them without any discussion and three after partial debate.

"Many issues related to the people - the rising prices, unabated farmers' suicides, Rajinder Sachar report on the poor condition of Indian Muslims - were not debated. People were not given a chance to know why there is so much opposition to the nuclear deal," he contended.

Clarifying its position, the BJP said it was ready for a discussion till the government announced a 15-member UPA (United Progressive Alliance)-Left committee on the nuclear deal.

"It is the government's insensitivity towards the opposition that led to this situation," Uday Singh, a BJP MP in the Lok Sabha said.

"The government should have parity in its treatment to the political parties. Our demand for a JPC was not at all unreasonable," Singh told IANS.

For Jitin Prasada, Congress MP from Shahjahanpur, most of the sessions in the 14th Lok Sabha have been disappointing.

"I am a first time MP who has come to Parliament with lot of expectation to raise the people's issues. We looked at Parliament as a mechanism to get people's work done.

"But we are not able to express our views. It's very sad that the opposition was behaving so irresponsibly," Prasada said.

Five-time MP Devendra Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal agreed. "What is happening to Parliament is a result of the opposition's negative approach."

"There is no meaning for Parliament if discussions and deliberations are not allowed. This is not a good trend at all."

He pointed out that the opposition even disrupted question hour every day, an occurrence he described as "unprecedented".

Although 380 starred questions were listed for the more-than-month-long session, only 35 questions could be answered in the house. The Lok Sabha has lost over 42 hours due to interruptions and forced adjournments.