Hindustantimes wants to start sending you push notifications. Click allow to subscribe

Parliament: Stormy winter session ends

The stormy session, which kicked off with the repeal of three contentious agriculture laws, witnessed a bitter face-off between treasury and opposition benches in both chambers.
The stormy session, which kicked off with the repeal of three contentious agriculture laws, witnessed a bitter face-off between treasury and opposition benches in both chambers.
Updated on Dec 23, 2021 03:11 AM IST
By, New Delhi

The winter session of Parliament, which was marked by heated protests by opposition parties and the passage of major legislation was adjourned a day ahead of schedule on Wednesday, with the Lok Sabha managing 82% productivity and the Rajya Sabha just 48%, amid a raging controversy over the suspension of 12 Upper House members.

The stormy session, which kicked off with the repeal of three contentious agriculture laws, witnessed a bitter face-off between treasury and opposition benches in both chambers. Amid disruptions inside the House and protests outside, the government introduced 12 bills and pushed through 10 pieces of non-financial legislation, including one to link electoral rolls to the Aadhaar database and two others extending the terms of the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate chiefs.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government also introduced a bill to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21, though later decided to refer it to a parliamentary committee on the penultimate day of business. This is the fifth time in a row that a Parliament session has ended earlier than scheduled.

RELATED STORIES
Parliament: Stormy winter session ends

The Rajya Sabha’s 48% productivity was the fifth-lowest figure in the past four years. A miffed Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu said that the Upper House functioned “much below its potential” and urged the lawmakers to “collectively reflect and introspect if this session would have been different and better”.

In his valedictory speech, Naidu said that he didn't want to speak elaborately on the course of the session as it will lead him to “take a very critical view”.

Leader of the Opposition, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, said that the government and the Opposition were fighting but “there was no mediator”, referring to Naidu’s insistence that the two sides must sit and talk to end the logjam.

“The chairman adjourned the House due to government’s pressure whenever we said something,” he added, referring to the frequent disruptions.

The suspension of the 12 opposition lawmakers on the first day of the session, November 29, over unruly scenes in the previous session of Parliament set the tone of acrimony and set off daily protests and disruptions that consumed 49.32 hours or 52.08% of the 95.06 hours available to the Upper House this session.

The Question Hour — the window to seek replies from Union ministers on myriad issues — became the biggest casualty in the Rajya Sabha with 60.6% of its total time drowned in din. Naidu asked MPs to realise that “what happened is wrong” and urged them to work towards a “constructive positive atmosphere” in the future.

The Lok Sabha lost 18.48 hours to disruptions, primarily to over the Congress-led Opposition’s persistent demands for the resignation of Union minister of state for home Ajay Kumar Mishra ‘Teni’, whose son Ashish Mishra is the prime accused in the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence that killed eight people.

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla emphasised that “agreements and disagreements on issues may be reflected in debates and not through disruption”.

“Democracy in India is a way of life. leaders of political parties and members must work in the direction of strengthening democracy and democratic institutions,” he said. He maintained that “smooth conduct of the House is the responsibility of all stakeholders” and added that he will be talking to lawmakers to improve attendance in the House.

Birla later explained that the government and the Opposition couldn’t reach a consensus to discuss the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. “Some issues were not agreed by government and the Opposition,”he said, triggering a sharp response from Congress floor leader Adhir Chowdhury.

Chowdhury termed the comment “laughable” and said Opposition lawmakers in the Lower House moved adjournment motions every day and tried to discuss the issue. “But as soon as they heard L of Lakhimpur, our microphones would be turned off,” he said.

The winter session saw the introduction of 12 bills, as against the planned 26. Parliament approved 10 non-financial bills and the Lok Sabha also cleared the appropriation bill to provide additional budgetary support.

Trinamool Congress member Derek O’Brien, who became the 13th member to be suspended on Tuesday for throwing a rule book at the Chair, said that the highlight of the session was the rediscovered unity of opposition parties.

Union minister Pralhad Joshi lashed out at Opposition parties for repeated disruptions and said that the Opposition was “unable to digest” the mandate of 2019, when the BJP returned to power with an expanded majority.

“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 told a press conference.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
OPEN APP