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Govt blames Opposition for disruption-hit winter session of Parliament

The session, which began on November 29, was marred by prolonged disruptions, particularly in the Upper House, where the suspension of 12 Opposition lawmakers on the first day touched off a heated confrontation between the government and Opposition.
Opposition leaders along with suspended MPs read the Preamble to the Constitution of India and recite the national anthem, in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue in New Delhi, on Wednesday. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 23, 2021 03:18 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi on Wednesday put the onus of the disruption-hit winter session on the Opposition, saying they were not able to “digest” the mandate received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 general election.

“It is unfortunate that despite our efforts and reaching out to the opposition, they created ruckus in the House. It seems that Congress and other opposition parties are unable to digest the mandate of 2019 given by the people,” Joshi said, after the winter session was adjourned a day ahead of schedule.

The session, which began on November 29, was marred by prolonged disruptions, particularly in the Upper House, where the suspension of 12 Opposition lawmakers on the first day touched off a heated confrontation between the government and Opposition. The productivity in the Upper House stood at only 48%.

In the Lower House, which clocked a productivity of 82%, the Opposition’s demand to debate the Lakhimpur Kheri violence sparked some disruptions and limited work. The Opposition accused the government of stifling debate in the House and rushing bills through.

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But Joshi rejected the charge and said that adequate time was granted to Opposition leaders for studying bills, particularly the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, which proposes linking electoral rolls to the Aadhaar database. “The bill was circulated among members in advance to prepare for an informed debate,” the minister said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) particularly targeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for instigating disruptions in the House. ”It has always been the endeavour of the government that there should be a healthy and smooth discussion in the House. But the Opposition was adamant on obstructing the business of the House on one pretext or the other,” Joshi said.

“We will pray to God to give wisdom to Rahul Gandhi and his colleagues so that the next session can go on smoothly,” he quipped.

The minister said the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was referred to the joint committee of both Houses of Parliament and five bills were referred to standing committees.

Giving added importance to issues raised in the Zero Hour—the slot for MPs to raise issues primarily of their constituencies—Joshi informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed all ministers to give priority to Zero Hour matters.

He also pointed out that during the United Progressive Alliance era (2004 to 2014), members hardly got time to raise issues of the people in their constituency during Zero Hour, “The MPs can now raise issues in the Zero Hour,” Joshi said.

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