It was widely expected to be a stormy session . And true to its words, the Monsoon Session of parliament ended on a bitter note . Not surprising given the way it has been the scenario in recent times . One can count literally on finger tips how many days of productive sessions we have had so far.
This time the session was rocked by the Pegasus snooping row . The government’s reluctant to debate the raging issue was slammed by the opposition and the stalemate continued ultimately both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine die two days ahead from the scheduled date August 13. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla expressed pain that the House did not run smoothly during the Monsoon session. Addressing media after the House was adjourned sine die (for an indefinite period), he said members holding placards, raising slogans in the Well of Lok Sabha was not in accordance with its traditions.
Lok Sabha functioned only 21 of 96 hours hours during the entire Monsoon session and its productivity was at 22 per cent, Birla reportedly said. Rajya Sabha on the other hand 28 out of 98 hours.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, had a torrid time and broke down as he spoke about the ruckus by Opposition MPs in the House the previous day. Even as Naidu was speaking, slogans were continuously raised over various issues. Naidu said the “sacredness” of the House was destroyed by some Opposition MPs, adding he could not sleep last night.
NCP supremo and Maratha stalwart Sharad Pawar, expressed dismay over the Rajya Sabha happenings. In a tweet he wrote, n my 55 years of parliamentary career, I have never seen this kind of behaviour towards women MPs in the August house. More than 40 men and women were brought into the House from outside. It is painful. It is an attack on democracy.
Charges and counter charges flew thick and fast. Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister was scathing in his attack on the Modi government . Chidambaram said in an interview that in this whole session, the prime minister and the home minister were “absent”, did not answer a single question and did not participate in any debate. “This shows that the two-man army, which is the BJP government, has scant respect for Parliament. If these two gentlemen have their way, they will lock down Parliament,” he alleged.
Former Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the government and put the onus on Parliament functioning to the Congress. The Congress has a simple mantra that as long as the interest of the family is served, the Parliament will be allowed to function. Parliament will not be allowed to function where the interest of the family is not there,” he told reporters. Prasad said that the ‘family always behaved in the same fashion in the past and that the family has failed to understand that the country is reposing its faith in Narendra Modi’.
It was not only the Pegasus row, other issues like the contentious three farm laws , for whose removal farmers have been on agitation for long, the hike in fuel prices – Petrol, Diesel, covid management and possible third wave went unheard. The government stood its ground and refused to hear out the opposition .
The opposition too showed a united front- Several opposition parties took out a protest march in Delhi against the Modi government on several issues. “The Parliament session is over. Frankly, as far as 60 per cent of country is concerned, there was no Parliament session as the voice of 60 per cent of people was crushed, humiliated,” Gandhi told reporters. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor lashed out at the Modi government, while taking part in the opposition protest march, Tharoor while speaking to ANI said, Centre doesn’t want to run the Parliament proceedings properly. Govt is passing laws without discussions. There should be a discussion on #COVID19 vaccination, current economic situation, unemployment, farm laws but govt is running away.
Amidst the blame game between the Government and the opposition it is the parliament that has suffered the monumental blow . Making a mockery of the parliament session time and again. Before the session , one sees the customary Government protocol of reaching out to the opposition but given the BJP and Modi government’s angst against any criticism and opposition view and and any contrary view as anti- national parliament is unlikely to see bonhomie in the near future.
With another Parliament session washed out and ending in bitter acrimony , It raises a pertinent question i.e if current parliament is not able to run smoothly then what would happen to the new parliament likely to be completed by August 15, 2022? Will it too meet the same fate – Washout . Or will the so much hyped grand structure mark a new beginning . Only time will tell. One can keep the fingers crossed on this . The new parliament as reports suggest will be four story structure with a seating capacity of 1224 and costs a whopping estimate of Rs 862 crore. Hope sanity prevails ahead .