Parliament proceedings | MPs from poll-bound States seek curtailed Budget session

Members of the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament.

Members of the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament.

Lok Sabha members from the poll-bound West Bengal , Assam , Tamil Nadu , Kerala and Puducherry have requested an early curtailment of the second part of the Budget session that began on Monday.

Sources said nearly 145 Parliamentarians have written to Speaker Om Birla on the matter. 

Meanwhile, though there has been no official announcement so far, both Houses of Parliament are switching back to the pre-COVID-19 timings and seating arrangements. For the first time in a year, members of both Houses will sit in their respective chambers, instead of being spread across two chambers. 

Sources said the old arrangements were restored to give more hours to each House so that the session could be wrapped up earlier than scheduled as per the demand of many MPs. 

The MPs will, however, continue to sit in galleries of the chamber to maintain physical distance as per the COVID-19 safety protocol. 

On Monday, during the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Lok Sabha, floor leaders of various parties advanced the same view. The Trinamool Congress and DMK leaders were not present at the meeting.

Birla’s meeting with leaders

Mr. Birla met with some leaders one-on-one to get a sense of the situation. Sources said he would arrive at a decision only after ascertaining the “sense of the House” on the matter. 

While the Shiv Sena said it would go with whatever the government decided, the YSRCP was one of the few parties that felt that the days lost, in case the session is cut short, should be made up for.

2011 and 2008 precedents

The Trinamool Congress, in letters addressed to both Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Mr. Birla, referred to the 2011 and 2008 precedents, when the session was similarly curtailed. 

In the letter to Mr. Naidu, Trinamool Congress national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek O’Brien said due to the polls, the MPs of his party would not be able to attend the Parliament session. He cited the 222nd session in 2011, which started on February 21 and was scheduled to conclude on April 21. But it was adjourned sine die  on March 25 due to Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

He also referred to the 214th session in 2008, which commenced on October 17 and was adjourned early on October 24 to meet again on December 10. The session, as per the original schedule, was to continue up to November 21. However, due to coming Assembly elections in some States, the House was adjourned till December 10. 

“I am optimistic that you will consider this proposal of ours,” said Mr. O’Brien.

Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay had written to Mr. Birla in February stating that due to campaign commitments in West Bengal, MPs from his party will be unable to attend Parliament, and requested that the session be curtailed.

The government has started reaching out to Opposition parties seeking to close the session early. A section of Congress leaders, including Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, supports the demand, but others feel that it will send a wrong message.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 8:59:14 pm |