In a record of sorts, proceedings in the Lok Sabha collapsed on Monday for absence of as many as 34 members who had listed questions prompting Speaker Meira Kumar to voice concern over the matter.

Question Hour is the “essence of democracy”, observed the Speaker outside the House close on the heels of the 34 members, who had given notices for questions but were not present.

This forced the Speaker to adjourn the House within half-an-hour of its assembling at 11:00 a.m.

Seventeen questions, including 15 in a row, could not be taken up during Question Hour in which a total of 20 questions are listed for answers from the ministers on the floor of the House.

The Speaker called out names of 34 members, including Varun Gandhi (BJP), Madhu Goud Yakshi, Eknath Gaikawad, Shruti Choudhary, B Jhansi Lakhsmi (all Cong), Anandrao Adsul, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil (Shiv Sena), Prabodh Panda (CPI), Rajiv Ranjan Singh (JD-U), Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM), but none of them was present in the House.

Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal were seen surprised as members belonging to various political parties, including Congress and the BJP, were absent.

“The absence of several members is a serious issue,” Ms. Kumar said adding that Question Hour is the time when elected representatives can ask questions to the Executive.

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