Government faced embarrassment in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday when a question relating to railway ministry was taken up but both minister Suresh Prabhu and junior minister Manoj Sinha were absent, leading the Speaker to issue a stricture saying such instances should not recur.
The incident happened during Question Hour when Speaker Sumitra Mahajan took up the issue of ‘Go-India Smart Card’, an initiative of the Railway Ministry, for discussion.
As neither Prabhu, nor Sinha were present in the House, Congress members led by Mallikarjun Kharge strongly protested and wanted to know why the Ministers were absent when the question relating to their Ministry was listed for business in the House.
Kharge said this was not for the first time that a Minister was absent when matters related to their Ministries were taken up.
“They (Ministers) are not following rules. Earlier, when a Cabinet Minister was not present, we kept mum. For running the House, Ministers must be present. They are not following rules. It will have a repercussion on you (Speaker), not on them (treasury),” Kharge said.
Congress chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia asked the Speaker to issue a stricture and said “we are fighting for you, Madam”.
Speaker Mahajan expressed her displeasure over the absence of MoS Sinha, saying “I am sorry, it is unfair”
“I was informed that the Cabinet Minister is busy in somewhere else. The MoS was here. But I think he has left. This should not happen. Ministers should be present till the last. This should not happen again,” she said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also expressed regret for the absence of the Minister saying it will not be repeated.
“The Minister (MoS) was here. But he has left perhaps under the impression that it (the question related to the Railway Ministry) will not come up. I am sorry and it will not be repeated. Minister should be in the House. It is a mistake,” he said.
Naidu also suggested that the particular question relating to the Railway Ministty should be postponed and taken up on another day.