New Delhi, April 6: “The House is adjourned sine die”, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu announced in the respective Houses of Parliament on Friday (April 6) closing the second leg of Budget Session. Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha saw little or no business at all in the second part of the Budget Session as the government and opposition locked horns on a range of issues.

“I make an appeal to all of you to appear here next time to do what we were given to do at the time of Independence,” Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said. “This Sabha is for a platform the raise issues for the welfare of the people. I understand that MPs have several issues they want to raise but they should keep in mind that the country has a variety of issues which need to be focused on,” Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said addressing the agutating MPs. However, their appeals did little to end the pandemonium in Parliament.

According to a data, this was the least productive Budget Session since 2000. In the first half of the session (from January 29 to Febraury 9), Lok Sabha worked for 89 per cent of its scheduled time and Rajya Sabha worked for 96 per cent. However, during the second half, the productivity went down to just 4 per cent for Lok Sabha and 9 per centfor Rajya Sabha, a report by PRS Legislative Research said. Opposition MPs holding placards, shouting slogans in protest against the government was a daily sight both inside and outside Parliament during the second part of the Budget session (March 5 to April 6).

As the government vs opposition gridlock failed to end, many important bills were pushed to the backburner.The Prevention of Corruption Amendment Bill, 2013; the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015; the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 or Triple Talaq Bill; the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017; the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017; the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, were some of the key Bills over which the Parliament was scheduled to hold debates but the continuous uproar in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha prevented any meaningful discussion.

However,  the Parliament quietly approved a hike in salary package of its members. After the approval by the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances, our MPs would now get a basic salary of Rs 1 lakh. 

It is not only the Congress which has cornered the Modi government in both Houses of Parliament. Opposition parties like Mamata Banerjee Trinamool Congress (TMC), Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), AIADMK and others consistently targeted the NDA government. The BJP’s ally – Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) – even walked out of the ruling alliance over the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh.

BJP MPs to Observe Fast Against Parliament Washout

Accusing the Congress of not letting the Parliament work during 23-day Budget Session, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now decided to hold a day-long protest on April 12.

“BJP works for connecting people, Congress works for dividing people. Congress indulges in divisive, negative politics. It didn’t let the House function. We’ll sit in protest against the negative attitude of Congress during last 23 days,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters.

“No Work, No Pay”

As no business was done for several consecutive days, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, earlier this week, announced that no BJP or NDA Member of Parliament would take their 23-day salary. However, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy didn’t approve of Ananth Kumar’s idea. Swamy said he went to Parliament on a regular basis and that it was not his fault if there was no work.

“I used to go daily, if House didn’t run it isn’t my fault. Anyhow I’m President’s representative, until he says so, how can I say I’ll not take my salary,” Swamy said.

(With inputs from agencies)