The 17-day long monsoon session of the Parliament which ended on a high productivity note on Friday witnessed the NDA government locking horns with Opposition parties amidst a show of unity by the latter.
Dismissing a possibility of a washout similar to the budget session, Lok Sabha passed 21 crucial bills and Rajya Sabha passed 14, making it the most productive session since 2000.
The lower House spent more than 112 hours debating, discussing and protesting on Bills whereas the upper House recorded productivity of 68 hours with multiple adjournments throughout the session. However, apart from the Bills, the Houses witnessed some key moments that are most likely to go down in history.
The motion moved by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) demanding a special category status was finally taken up by the Speaker after brushing away in the Budget Session. Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the No-confidence motion was the platform for the Opposition to show its strength and unity to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDA government. Although the NDA government came out victorious, the 12-hour-long debate saw Congress President Rahul Gandhi take charge for the first time as the Congress president.
Wink and Smile
Rahul Gandhi in a bid to spread 'Gandhiwad' (Gandhism), went and embraced Prime Minister Narendra Modi after finishing his debate speech and failing to contain his excitement winked at his fellow member. Now a meme factory, the hug, and the wink created much uproar in the Parliament, receiving both praises and backlash from people of all walks in the country.
The Congress raked up the Rafale deal, accusing the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of withholding expenditure data. The BJP countered the allegations by saying that the pact with the French government ensures confidentiality of information. The following day, Opposition served five privilege motions against Narendra Modi and Nirmala Sitharaman. The BJP later served four privilege motions against the Congress president Rahul Gandhi for altering facts.
SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill
After receiving backlash from Dalits across India, the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe ( Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018 was passed by Rajya Sabha on August 9. The Bill overturns the Supreme Court's order diluting certain safeguards against immediate arrest under the earlier law.
Assam NRC row
The Session saw multiple Congress and Trinamool members trooping Well of the house and raising slogans against Narendra Modi government over the National Register of Citizens. While Trinamool Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Union government of targetting Bengalis in Assam after 40 lakh people were deemed illegal migrants, BJP chief Amit Shah accused the Opposition of trying to protect the Bangladeshis. "The Assam Accord was signed by Congress prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on 14 August, 1985. And he announced it from the Red Fort in his speech the next day. You (Congress) did not have the courage to implement it. We had the courage and we are doing it," Amit Shah said. The statement led to multiple disruptions and adjournments in Rajya Sabha over the next two days.
Adjournment to mourn Karunanidhi
Both the houses of the Parliament was adjourned on August 8 after paying obituary to DMK chief Karunanidhi, a day after his demise. The Indian flag at the Parliament was also kept half-mast to honour one the longest-serving politicians of the country.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Elections
Janata Dal (United) member and the NDA candidate Harivansh held the second most important position in the upper House after winning with a majority of 125 votes. The election following the no-confidence motion was a test for the Opposition to showcase their unity one more time, However, this time, Aam Admi Party and Biju Janata Dal refused to comply with Congress. The opposition candidate, BK Hariprasad too secured 105 votes in the election.
Prime Minister's remark expunged
In a rare case, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expunged by Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu for his remark on Opposition's candidate while addressing the House post Harivansh's victory. The remark was expunged from the record under Rule 238.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill which criminalizes instant divorce by uttering the world ''talaq'' thrice, wrecked havoc on the last day of the Parliament with Congress protesting against the bill. The BJP-led government, which does not have a majority in the upper house, earlier tried to get it passed in the Budget session but failed. Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said that the Bill won't be taken up since a consensus couldn't be formed.
Key Bills passed
Amidst protest and political brouhaha, several crucial bills were passed by the Parliamentarians. These include,
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill
The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill
The Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2018
The National Sports University Bill
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Second Amendment) Bill
Key Bills pending
At the same time, some bills were left pending for passage by the Parliamentarians until the next session. These include,
The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill
The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill