The Congress on Tuesday termed the Monsoon session of Parliament as "highly disappointing" and claimed the government did not have an appetite to run proceedings even though the Opposition was willing to sit till the very end to debate and pass bills.
The Monsoon session ended on Monday, four days ahead of schedule, after continued disruptions during the last three weeks over issues like price rise, suspension of 27 MPs, the controversial "Rashtrapatni" remark and the Enforcement Directorate's action.
The principal opposition party questioned the decision to curtail the session and alleged that after the prime minister, his ministers too were "ignoring" Parliament. The Opposition was ready to sit on August 10 and 12 to discuss and pass bills but the government was in a rush to curtail the session, AICC general secretary, communication, and party's chief whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh said at a press conference.
He said the government had listed 32 bills at the start of the session but managed to pass only seven in the Lok Sabha and five in the Rajya Sabha. "It was also extraordinary that one-and-a-half days of proceedings were disrupted by treasury benches which kept insisting on an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi for remarks made by the leader of the party in Lok Sabha who had already apologised for his statement both verbally as well as in writing," Ramesh said.
‘A matter of great satisfaction’
He said the coming together of opposition parties to demand a review of the Supreme Court's order on PMLA is a "huge step towards strengthening democracy". "It is a matter of great satisfaction that all opposition parties, 16 opposition parties came together to raise serious concerns on the Supreme Court judgment on the PMLA amendments that were carried out between 2014 and 2018 and have called for a review of that judgment and that statement has already been circulated," Ramesh noted.
He also noted that "cadre mobilisation of the Congress on people's issues and ED high-handedness" was a "great benefit of the Monsoon session for the party and the August 5 anti-ED protest put the government and even Home Minister Amit Shah on the backfoot." "We are agitating not only in Parliament, but, there are limits to agitation in Parliament because our job in Parliament is to allow Parliament to run, not to disrupt Parliament," Ramesh said.
He, however, said it was a matter of some disappointment that they could not get one opposition party on board for the Vice Presidential election. Congress spokesperson and deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said the government knew about the holidays beforehand and asked why it did not plan accordingly.
"We have exposed the real face of the BJP government during the session. They talk of productivity, but there is zero accountability on their part," he said. Terming the Monsoon session as "extremely disappointing", Ramesh said, "There was no enthusiasm or appetite on part of the government to get bills passed. Normally the opposition says the House should be adjourned but this time the government had no appetite to run the house".
He said the reason cited for curtailing the session "was that BJP MPs don't want to return after Raksha Bandhan on August 11" and added that the houses could have sat on August 10. "The government had no business in its agenda. The floor management was not good. Earlier the prime minister used to ignore Parliament and now even the ministers are doing so," Ramesh charged.
He referred to the absence of Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan when the Central University Bill was being piloted in Rajya Sabha on Monday. IT and communication minister Ashwini Vaishnav piloted the bill and replied to it, said Ramesh adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen in Rajya Sabha for the ''first time'' on Monday when he spoke during the farewell of House Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
Ramesh said probably this Monsoon session was the last in the current Parliament building because "we have been told that the Winter session will be held in the new building".