Decision to Extend Lok Sabha Session 'Dictatorial': Congress

Published: 08th May 2015 05:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th May 2015 05:41 PM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: Opposition on Friday attacked the government over its decision to extend the Lok Sabha session for three days and termed the move "dictatorial", with many members objecting to the news being reported in the media even when the House was unaware of it.

Government rejected the criticism saying the decision follows similar precedents, but acknowledged that leaders of some parties could not be informed on Thursday as the Rajya Sabha worked till late evening and many ministers, including Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, were busy there.

Congress, the Left and TMC members were most vociferous in their protests and Lok Sabha was adjourned thrice as their members trooped into the Well time and again to protest the manner in which the decision was taken.

Raising slogans like 'tanashahi nahin chalegi' (dictatorship will not be tolerated) and 'Modi sarkar jawab do' (Modi government explain), the opposition members said they were not consulted on the matter.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled that the House had been extended till May 13 after the Business Advisory Committee on Friday approved the decision taken by the government on Thursday.

She also allowed the opposition members to raise the issue in the Zero Hour.

"It's a unilateral decision. The House was not taken into confidence, nor was the opposition. They (government) take a decision and impose it on the BAC. This is dictatorship. This dictatorship will not be allowed in a democracy," Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said as he raised the matter.

Attacking the government for creating an impression that the opposition was causing obstruction and not interested in running the House, he said they have been cooperative and therefore many bills could be passed during the session.

Questioning why the Modi government took the decision to extend the House at the last minute when it was aware about the business it needed to transact, Kharge said "the consent of the House was not taken... You (Speaker) don't know, we don't know, but the press knows it."

Amid the row over extension of the session, Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) said Parliament should have a special session to pay tribute to B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, in the year of his 125th anniversary.

Supporting him, Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) said the session could be named after the Dalit icon.

The BJD leader argued that the government should have taken a decision earlier as members have their engagements lined up in their constituencies. "I am sure even (Speaker) Sumitra Mahajan will like to go to her constituency."

The House witnessed brief verbal duel between Congress and treasury benches after Naidu referred to Kharge as a "good boy". As the opposition members protested, the Minister said there should be some repartee in the House.

"He is a good man, very good man, very good elderly man," he said, drawing smile from some members including Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

P Venugopal (AIADMK) said his party has no problem with the extension. This found support from leaders of TDP, TRS and YSR Congress.

Sudip Bandhopadhyay (Trinamool Congress) said they got to know about the extension of the Lok Sabha from news channels. He said it should not be a precedent.

P Karunakaran (CPI-M) objected to the extension.

Defending the move, Naidu said governments are often accused of working to curtail the session but they were extending it. "Is working a sin?"

He claimed that no minister briefed media about the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs to extend the session.

"Media has its own way of functioning. Sometime they say the House is going to see uproar, bedlam...," he said.

Parliament has been extended earlier without the BAC being informed, he said, adding that he was not justifying it.

Government has extended the House to transact some important legislative business, including passage of important bills like Land Bill.


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