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Parliament's Winter Session adjourned sine die after repeated disruptions

The winter session, which began on November 16, witnessed repeated adjournments due to opposition protests over demonetisation and other issues.


Parliament's Winter Session adjourned sine die after repeated disruptions

New Delhi: The month-long winter session of Parliament was adjourned sine die on Friday, after repeated disruptions and adjournments during the period.

The session, which began on November 16, had witnessed repeated adjournments due to the opposition protests over demonetisation and other issues.

The Lok Sabha lost almost 92 hours to disruptions while the Rajya Sabha lost more than 86 hours, IANS reported citing the secretariats of both the houses.

Also Read: Opposition parties meet President Pranab over demonetisation woes, blame govt for Winter Session washout

The Lok Sabha worked for merely 19 hours in its 21 sittings, while the Rajya Sabha worked for 22 hours.

In the Rajya Sabha, only two of the 330 listed questions could be answered orally while in the Lok Sabha, 50 of the 440 starred questions were answered.

In the Lok Sabha, the opposition wanted a debate on demonetisation under a rule entailing voting in the end. Opposition leaders later said they were ready for the debate without rule or vote.

However, the last couple of days witnessed angry exchanges between opposition and treasury benches as the ruling bloc, including Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, sought a debate on AgustaWestland issue.

The government benches also slammed opposition parties for allegedly running money laundering racket by changing demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

The lower house, however, did take up a discussion on demonetisation under Rule 193. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) member A.P. Jithender Reddy also started the debate, but it could not be taken up as other opposition parties created a ruckus.

Till the last day, opposition members kept submitting notices for adjourning the plower house proceedings to take up the debate but all notices were disallowed by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

In the Rajya Sabha, the demonetisation debate started on the session`s very first day. However, the opposition later sought the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi throughout the debate, and disrupted the house repeatedly as Modi kept away.

On Friday, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die shortly after the house met at 11 a.m., but not before Chairman M. Hamid Ansari, in an emotional speech, voiced anguish over disruptions in the house during the entire winter session.

"I had fervently hoped that I would not have to repeat what I said at the conclusion of the 221st session in December 2013," Ansari said.

"My hope stands belied. Regular and continuous disruptions characterised the session. The symbolism of dignified protest, so essential for orderly conduct of parliamentary proceedings, was abandoned," he said.

Ansari held both the treasury and opposition benches responsible for the bedlam.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was also unhappy over the repeated adjournments.

Mahajan informed the house that it functioned for only 19 hours in 21 sittings. "It is not even 21 hours."

She said 91 hours and 59 minutes were wasted due to disruptions.

"This is not good for us. It maligns our image in the public," Mahajan said.

"I hope there will be no disruptions in the coming sessions and we will function in a better way," she added.

The Lok Sabha, in the entire session, passed four bills, of which two were finance bills related to Supplementary Demand for Grants, and other two were Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, -- which was also passed by the Rajya Sabha -- and the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2014.

(With IANS inputs)

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