Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: Parliament was adjourned sine die on a sombre note on Monday, four days ahead of the scheduled end of the monsoon session.

“The highest public forum in this country has almost come to a standstill … which has raised questions about … parliamentary democracy and its future,” said Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in his closing statement amid sharp exchanges between the Left and Bharatiya Janata Party members.

The Speaker said an adjournment motion was taken up on the failure of the government to contain terrorist activities; 10 bills were passed, regrettably four without discussion; and several calling attention motions could not be discussed because of disruptions.

Later, at a press conference, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi charged the BJP with avoiding a debate on the nuclear deal “for fear of their own exposure” relating to what they wanted from Washington when the Vajpayee-led government was in power. That government did not take Parliament into confidence even once on that dialogue, he said.

The United Progressive Alliance was extremely transparent, with the Prime Minister making statements in both Houses. The Opposition made it impossible to hear his statement. And it thwarted every opportunity for a debate. A debate could not take place, though it was scheduled by the Business Advisory Committee to which the Opposition was a party. Mr. Dasmunsi said the disruptions resulted in the Lok Sabha losing 41 hours (40 per cent of the total time) and the Rajya Sabha 42 hours (49 per cent).

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