NEW DELHI: From boisterous euphoria in June 2014 to tensions writ large on members' faces distinguished first and last sittings of the 16th Lok Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that the decisive mandate in 2014 helped India gain recognition on the world stage.
Yet, the fact that the ruling NDA enjoying massive majority couldn't douse the fire of acrimony which first hit the House with "intolerance" only to reach a peak with Rafale allegations by the Opposition.
Legislative overdrive of the NDA government distinguished the 16th Lok Sabha. Modi said, "Lok Sabha took up 219 Bills and passed 203. The Bill to allow 26 weeks of maternity leave has been talked about globally."
The Modi government, in its initial years, benefited from then-President Pranab Mukherjee for chiding the Opposition for adopting disruptive stances in the House.
Modi in his farewell address stated that the posterity would recall contributions of the 16th Lok Sabha for giving a robust anti-corruption architecture to the country. He was evidently referring to maximum Bills passed by the House, which included likes of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Benami transactions (Prohibition), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Even the last Bill passed by the 16th Lok Sabha was an amendment to the law prohibiting chit fund deposits.
The 16th Lok Sabha was also arguably marked by lack of rapport between the treasury and Opposition benches. The Chair didn't give recognition of leader of Opposition to the Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge for want of the requisite number. Also, Prime Minister seemingly didn't strike a direct communication with the top leadership of the Congress, while leaving the task to his ministerial colleagues to maintain minimum contacts.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, too, was seen caught in the Opposition and ruling party crossfire on a few occasions. The Opposition often accused her of not allowing them to raise key issues. In the last leg of the 16th Lok Sabha, Mahajan even sought to revisit the rule book to check unruly behaviours of the members, as she suspended TDP and AIADMK MPs for disrupting proceedings in the House.
Before adjourning the 16th Lok Sabha sine die, Mahajan admitted that she may have been a strict teacher, but only to run the House.
With the AIADMK, TRS, BJD largely staying soft on the NDA, the Opposition was dwarfed in numbers, yet made the most of the noise, disrupting House sessions.