Name & throw out; Parliament takes cues from State Assemblies

Deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha Harivansh

Deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha Harivansh reacting leader of Opposition Mallikarjuna Kharge's objection to suspension of MPs

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, July 26: Long Ago when Sheila Dikshit was the chief minister of Delhi, the Assembly in the national capital would witness usual pattern – government calling short sessions, chief whip of the ruling party taking out a list to read out names of the Opposition MLAs, who would indulge in non-stop slogan shouting, and the Speaker throwing them out of the session for the remaining days.

On Tuesday, the Rajya Sabha suspended 19 MPs for trooping into the well of the House for the remaining days of the week in the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament.

A day before the Lok Sabha had suspended four Opposition MPs in similar fashion.

The State Assemblies are widely known to have least regards for the conventions – debate, discourse, discussions, and long sessions.

The Assemblies are called for short duration, the shorter the better, sometimes for specific purposes, which could be a few days.

The chief ministers generally have habits of skipping the Assembly sessions.

In the recent years, the issue to improve the sittings of the Assemblies has been deliberated in the presiding officers’ conferences which are held at locales of great tourist interests.

But it appears that the bug that struck the Assemblies has now infected the Parliament.

It may be recalled that the Parliament has seen much intense and passionate pandemonium in the past than the headless Opposition of the day showing some fire in the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament by raising the issue of the price rise, particularly the bizarre move of the GST Council meeting in Chandigarh to bring even the staple items of the daily usages of the common people in the five per cent tax net.

The objective of the GST that it will lead to tax simplification already lies buried in the past, while populist governments rush to tax people to fund their vote-catching schemes and decisions.

While the Lok Sabha took up the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, which was introduced in the House by the then Union Minister for Home Affairs Sushil Kumar Shinde in the presence of prime former minister Manmohan Singh, the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, while LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj graced the Opposition benches, the Congress MPs sprayed pepper in the well of the House and the members wrestled in fisticuffs, punching and overpowering. Yet none of the MPs were named while the House was in the session, and the action came in the evening, much later after the Lok Sabha had been adjourned.

The usual statement that one hears while watching the Parliament proceedings is that the “House is for the Opposition to have its say, and the government its way”.

The all-party meetings called by the presiding officers and the government on the eve of the sessions are increasingly seen as a non-serious affairs, with top leadership not seen to commit to the deliberations.

Additionally, the treasury benches iron-fist approach with the Opposition blanks out scopes for taking up discussions on matters agitating the non-ruling parties and paving the way for the two Houses of the Parliament to go ahead with the normal business.

That the Odisha chief minister Navin Patnaik or his counterparts in other States prides in not coming to the Assemblies cannot be worth replicating at the national level, for that approach smacks of unbridled arrogance.

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