Lok Sabha adjourned sine die, many cry foul


New Delhi : The Lok Sabha was Monday abruptly adjourned sine die bringing to an end the budget session four days ahead of schedule even as some parties cried foul.

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There were murmurs of protest and surprise when Speaker Somnath Chatterjee announced at 2.15 p.m. that the “fourth budget session of the 14th Lok Sabha comes to a close today”.

Chatterjee said 20 bills were tabled in the house in this session. Five of them were measures replacing ordinances and the most important among them were the Delimitation Bill and the Representation of People Act (Amendment) Bill.

“In all, 62 reports were tabled and 280 matters were raised in the house,” Chatterjee said.

This budget session, which had a 25-day recess, witnessed frequent disruptions by MPs from the opposition benches. “In this session, 28 hours and 30 minutes were lost due to interruptions and walkouts,” the speaker informed the house.

“The issue of adjourning the house sine die did not come up during the ‘informal’ all-party meeting to sort out the issue of referring 32 MPs to the privileges committee. We were kept in the dark,” Devendra Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), a key constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, told IANS.

“I was to raise the issue of the exclusion of the creamy layer among Other Backward Class (OBC) students from the quota in higher educational institutions. It was listed on Monday’s business under Rule 193. It was an important issue,” Yadav said.

Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India (CPI) also protested on the floor of the house the speaker’s decision to cut short the budget session. The Left members, however, blamed the government for it.

“The government has lost interest in discussing the issues which concern the people,” Dasgupta told reporters outside parliament.

Mohammad Salim of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) added: “If the government says there is no business to be conducted, the speaker has no option but to adjourn the house. The government did not want to discuss important issues like the creamy layer of OBCs, climate change and the report of the Justice Sachar panel on the socio-economic condition of the Muslim community.”

A section of MPs saw a tacit deal between the ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in getting the house adjourned so that their leaders could campaign for the three-phased Karnataka assembly polls beginning May 10.

“The leaders from the two main parties decided to cut short the budget session so that they can make themselves available for campaigning in Karnataka,” Yadav claimed.

The BJP leaders did not mind the abrupt end of the budget session.

“Perhaps, the government did not have any further business to be conducted,” BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.

Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said the government was within its rights to get the house adjourned when all important business had already been conducted.

“What about the items listed for discussion Tuesday,” asked Ram Kripal Yadav of the RJD.