New Delhi: Defending the Narendra Modi-led govrnment’s stand on the scrapping of Question Hour in the ongoing Monsoon Session, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi asserted that the Centre is not running away from discussion as it will reply to all questions which the Opposition parties are going to raise. Also Read - New CAG Report Admits 'Technology Transfer' Shelved in Rafale Offsets: Congress
“It’s extraordinary situation. When Assemblies aren’t ready to meet for a single day, we -with around 800-850 MPs- are meeting here. There are so many ways to question the govt, we are not running away from discussion. We’re ready for discussion”, said Joshi. Also Read - Why no Summons For Kangana Ranaut Who Admitted to Taking Drugs: Nagma Questions NCB
He made the remarks while responding to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress MP in Lok Sabha, who had accused the government of ‘strangulating democracy’ with the suspension of question hour. Also Read - Delhi Riots: Police Name Salman Khurshid in Chargesheet For Provocative Speech During CAA Protest
“Question Hour is the golden hour but you say that it can’t be held due to the circumstances. You conduct the proceedings but single out Question Hour. You are trying to strangulate the democracy”, said the Congress leader.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also cornered the government over the issue and said the Question Hour and private members” business are cornerstone of democracy and it is very much essential for the existence of parliamentary democracy. “I urge the Speaker not to allow the executive to encroach on the territory of the legislature. It is a shameful day,” he said.
He also requested for a division, which was not accepted by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said the Question Hour is an integral part of the basic structure of parliamentary procedure and “we cannot destroy that part”.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also backed the Centre’s move and said that he had spoken to opposition leaders on the issue. “Leaders of most parties agreed over no Question Hour & Zero Hour for 30 minutes. We apprised you (Speaker) of it following which decision was taken by you. I appeal to all members of House to co-operate as Session is being held in extraordinary situation”, urged the Defence Minister.