All noise, little work: Monsoon session ends
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The monsoon session of Parliament came to an end on Friday. Dysfunctional for most of the session, the two Houses witnessed persistent disruption of proceedings by the opposition BJP to press for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the coal block allocation controversy.
Though the principal players — the Congress and BJP — did not engage each other on the floor in both Houses, post-session, they vowed to fight it out on the streets. "We would take the battle from Parliament to the road," Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.
"They first made Parliament the road and are now talking of taking to the streets," retorted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. He charged the BJP with an attempt to precipitate an early Lok Sabha election and reminded the opposition that the government had a mandate for full five years.
The minister lamented the fact that Parliament could dispose of very little business — four Bills in the Lok Sabha and two in the Rajya Sabha — though he had identified some 32 Bills for adoption. "I had hoped that I would get at least 20 of them passed," he said.
Bansal said the Lok Sabha had lost 77 per cent of its working time and the Rajya Sabha 72 per cent. He said the exchequer lost Rs 2.5 lakh for each minute of the session that was wasted. "Parliament should not be taken to 11 Ashoka Road (BJP headquarters) or television studios," Bansal said. He dismissed the BJP precondition for allowing normal proceedings — cancellation of all coal block allocations and an institution of a free and fair inquiry. "Such a cancellation will strike at the very foundation of our economic structure," he said.
Scheduled to have 19 sittings during the month-long session, from August 8, the two Houses worked normally only for the first six days. Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari said without mincing words while adjourning the Upper House sine die: "This session is likely to be remembered for the work that was not done."
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