Like several times in the last three-and-a-half years, both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die on Monday, four days ahead of schedule, amid speculation of mid-term polls and a government-opposition deadlock on the BJP's demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to look into the Indo-US nuclear deal
As relations between the treasury benches and the Opposition took a turn for worse, ironically, perhaps, for the first time in the truncated monsoon session that began on August 10, barring a small exchange between the BJP and the RJD and Left, the MPs sat quietly as Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee wrapped up the session in anguish.
"It is extremely disturbing that the highest public forum in this country has almost come to a standstill which has raised questions about the utility of our system of parliamentary democracy and about its future," he said. He reiterated that parliamentary democracy can function only when there is active participation of all the sections of the House and when the House functions with decorum and dignity.
In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Hamid Ansari said the House has witnessed frequent disruptions. This was Ansari's first session as chairman of the House while it is the last for secretary general Yogendra Narain who will retire on September 14.
"This has perhaps been the worst session," said Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee. In Parliament since the 60s, Mukherjee recalled that the disruptions, which first began with the JP movement in 1974, were limited to a few hours or, in extreme cases, for a couple of days and then the House would start its normal functioning.
"The earlier approach was to score points by arguments and debates. Now it is to create obstacles and paralyse proceedings," he said. Neither House could take up the discussion on the nuclear deal that figured in the Rajya Sabha’s list of business last week and in the Lok Sabha on Monday. But the BJP kept up its chant of “no JPC, no House.”