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Wednesday | 28 February, 2024

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Parliament adjourns sine die after Ram Temple discussion

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. | Photo Credit: -

Today marked the last day of the interim budget session and the last working day of the Parliament till the nation heads to the polls later this year. The Rajya Sabha discussed the White Paper alleging mismanagement of the economy under the UPA government, and both Houses discussed the construction of the Ram Mandir and the consecration ceremony on January 22 in Ayodhya. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also made his final address to the 17th Lok Sabha.

Parliament has now adjourned sine die. The makeup and members of the next session of Parliament will depend on the general elections set to take place in April-May. Read all the live updates here.

Lok Sabha 

On the last day of the 17th Lok Sabha, the House took up a discussion under rule 193 on the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and the consecration ceremony on January 22. Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took all sections of society along on the Ram temple issue and described the Supreme Court verdict on the matter as a reflection of India’s secular character to the world. “The date of January 22 marks the beginning of the journey of great India. This day paves the way for Maa Bharti (mother India) to take us on the path of becoming Vishwaguru (world leader),” he said. 

Speaking for the Congress party, MP Gaurav Gogoi said that Lord Ram is “everyone’s.” He recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s quest for “Ram Rajya”, and how his last words were “Hey Ram,” pointing to how interpretations of the name of Lord Ram are common in the country. “In Mahatma Gandhi’s Ram Rajya, everyone was treated equally, but in 2023, there was around 50% increase in crime against Scheduled Castes and Tribes compared to a year before, is this Ram Rajya?” Mr. Gogoi asked. 

AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi asked whether PM Modi’s government served only one religion, also saying that Muslims in India were continuously asked to prove their allegiance to the country. “Am I the spokesperson of Babur, Jinnah or Aurangzeb? I respect Lord Ram but I hate Nathuram Godse who killed that person whose last words were Hey Ram,” he said. 

Speaker Om Birla too addressed the House on this issue, saying that the parliamentarians were part of the country’s enthusiasm and joy.

As the House proceeded towards conclusion, some members shared their experiences of the 17th Lok Sabha. Anupriya Singh Patel, MoS for Commerce and Industry, said that every moment of Parliament was valuable, and expressed concern over time lost in turmoil, saying that it affects young representatives who are only elected for a term or two. Several MPs, such as BSP MP Ritesh Pandey highlighted that they had witnessed historic discussions in the House, such as the women’s reservation bill. In a lighter moment, YSRCP MP M Sreenivasulu Reddy, asked for a Central Hall to be created so that members of both Houses can mingle, like in the previous building. INC MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury credited Speaker Om Birla for his efforts to improve parliamentary practices and processes and providing better amenities to members. He said that the Opposition played its role responsibly and brought up matters of public interest over the past five years. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi then addressed the House. He said that the past five years were about “reform, perform and transform.” He expressed the belief that the 17th Lok Sabha would continue to receive the blessings of the people, noting that all members have played an important role in economic reforms, progress of research, and other issues by means of legislation. He highlighted several achievements during the 17th Lok Sabha, including doing away with Article 370 of the Constitution, the Women’s Reservation Bill, a strong law against terrorism, eliminating triple talaaq, and scrapping old laws from the books. 

He also said that the discussion on the Ram Temple today was important for the next generation. We will keep getting excellent results in line with hopes and aspirations of the youth of the nation, Mr. Modi said, concluding his speech.

Speaker Om Birla made a parting address to the 17th Lok Sabha, saying that the opportunity to be Speaker would be unforgettable and sharing that this Lok Sabha saw the greatest productivity out of the last five sessions, at 97%. 

Post his address and the national anthem, the Lok Sabha adjourned sine die. 

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha proceedings began with members praising the Centre’s decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on former Prime Ministers Chaudhary Charan Singh and P.V. Narasimha Rao, and architect of the Green revolution M.S. Swaminathan. Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar and BJP MPs accused the Congress of insulting Chaudhary Charan Singh and called for LoP Mallikarjun Kharge to apologise. 

The Upper House moved to a short duration discussion on the ‘White Paper on the Indian economy’ by the government. INC MP K C Venugopal questioned the Finance Ministry as to why the White Paper doesn’t mention demonetisation or the current unemployment rate. Several other Opposition MPs including DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, and Shiv Sena’s (UBT) Priyanka Chaturvedi said the Indian economy is failing and called the White Paper an “Election Paper.” AITC MP Saket Gokhale, asked the Ministry to instead release a white paper on women’s safety, parliament security and rising cases of hate speeches.

BJP MP Prakash Javadekar defended the white paper and said that the UPA government is defined by corruption, while MP Seema Dwivedi praised the current government for its economic achievements. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman replied to the discussion in the House. She pointed out that the government followed a two track approach for the Indian economy to remove archaic laws, and to look forward with a futuristic approach. “The economy we inherited was like a cloth on thorny bushes, which is reflected in the White Paper,” she said. Ms. Sitharaman also highlighted that the current government approved 348 projects pending under the UPA government worth over Rs. 17 lakh crore and answered a query on jobs saying that the overall unemployment rate is declining.

Closing the debate, Chairman VP Dhankar expressed emotion at the Opposition’s treatment of Jayant Chaudhary, saying he was tempted to resign in protest, noting that as Mr. Chaudhary thanked the government for awarding the Bharat Ratna to his grandfather - late PM Chaudhary Charan Singh - several MPs told him, ‘Go wherever you want to go’, referring to the BJP-RLD alliance for the Lok Sabha polls. 

Post this, the Rajya Sabha too took up a discussion on the Ram Temple and its consecration. Kicking off the debate, BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi narrated the history of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and claimed that it was fate that the Ram Temple was consecrated at the hands of PM Modi. Similar sentiments were expressed by many other BJP MPs, with BJP chief J.P Nadda saying that the Ram Mandir’s consecration is seen as the reawakening of the world’s spiritual consciousness. Union Minister Piyush Goyal remarked that people from all over the country took part in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. He also thanked PM Modi for his “extraordinary contribution” towards the same, and called his efforts “a service to the whole nation”.

In Opposition, Congress MP Pramod Tiwari from Rajasthan questioned why the temple was inaugurated before its completion. Terming it a political move ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, he said, “I am a Ram devotee, not his salesman. I believe in Ram’s principles.”

The House Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar added to the discussion by calling the temple a symbol of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”. In his concluding remarks for the session, Mr. Dhankhar encouraged the members of the Upper House to ensure “exemplary standards of conduct.” He stated that the productivity of the House stood at 137%, and said that in addition to the discussion on Motion of Thanks and the Union Interim Budget, Rajya Sabha also passed seven bills during this session. 

The Rajya Sabha was then adjourned sine die.  (Compiled by Priyali Prakash, Bhakti Hargunani, Suchitra Karthikeyan, Sruthi Darbhamulla and Pallavi Keswani)

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