Parties got proportional share of time to raise issues in Rajya Sabha

RS Secretariat readies MPs’ performance report

February 23, 2020 10:59 pm | Updated 11:00 pm IST - New Delhi

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu. File

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu. File

At the end of each Parliament session, a performance report detailing participation of all members should be prepared, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has told the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, according to sources.

The first edition of the report analysing the MPs’ performance on party lines reportedly reveals that each political party got proportional share of time, with the Opposition getting a little more.

The BJP, with 82 members accounting for 34% of the strength of 239 of the House, got 480 opportunities amounting to 33% of the total. The Congress, with 46 members constituting 19% of the strength, got 345 opportunities which comes to 24% share of the total. The 10 recognised parties in the House with five members and above each with a total of 190 members — accounting for 80% of the strength of the Council — got about 81% of the total opportunities. Others, including regional parties and Independents amounting to 20% of the membership of the House, got 19% share of participation indicating broad correspondence between the strength and share of opportunities.

The RS Secretariat has come up with this analysis in the backdrop of the recently concluded Parliament session that was marked by acrimonious exchange between the Opposition parties and the Rajya Sabha Chairman. The Opposition parties had held a press conference decrying the Chairman’s decision to not allow a debate on the ongoing nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The analysis shows that among the Opposition and non-NDA parties, the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the AIADMK got proportionally higher opportunities while the BJD, the DMK, the TRS and the CPI(M) got their due share. Only the SP got a lesser share.

The Opposition is none too impressed with the numbers. Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Congress MP Anand Sharma said the Parliament in a democracy belonged to the Opposition as it was the only platform available for them to voice people’s issues and concerns. It can’t be a government-run House even if they are in a majority. “ It’s fair that we have had an opportunity to participate in debate and articulate our view, at the same time the House belongs to the Opposition in a democracy,” Mr. Sharma told The Hindu .

‘Not an indicator’

Rajya Sabha leader of Trinamool Congress Derek O’ Brien said time alone could not be the criteria of success of a session. The Trinamool is the third largest party in Rajya Sabha.

“It’s not about the time, it’s about the quality of the issues discussed. Parliament cannot be measured in minutes and hours, it has to be measured in the quality of subjects we take up. How many of the issues raised by the Opposition were allowed to be discussed by this government in Parliament?” Mr. O’ Brien questioned.

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