KOLKATA: The Trinamool Congress on Saturday said it is "unjust and unfair" to compare the curtailment of Question Hour during the West Bengal Assembly's upcoming two-day short session with that of a full-fledged Parliament session.
West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee on Friday said there would be no Question Hour during the upcoming two-day monsoon session of the West Bengal Assembly beginning from September 9 due to "paucity of time and the COVID-19 situation".
The BJP has termed it a "double standard" of the Trinamool Congress, which had earlier called the decision not to have the Question Hour during the upcoming Parliament session a "murder of democracy".
"The criticism is unwarranted. It is not only unfair but unjust as well. There can be no comparison between a two-day (Assembly) session and a full-fledged Parliament session. And regarding the issue of taking questions, whether written questions will be accepted or not will be decided during an all-party meet on September 8," TMC chief whip in the Assembly Nirmal Ghosh said.
Echoing Ghosh, TMC party leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O' Brien said it would be inappropriate to compare "apples with oranges".
"Comparing an 18-day regular Parliament Monsoon session with a two-day session of the state Assembly is like comparing apples with oranges. No parliament session of below five days has had a question hour. Only one exception was a special session during the 1962 China war. The Bengal session is just two days long," he said.
Noting that allowing written questions deprives the MPs of asking supplementary questions, O'Brien said just like regular sessions the Parliament this time will also function for an equal amount of time in the absence of Private Member's bill.
"During a normal session, the Parliament functions for 30 hours a week, of which 2.5 hours are marked for Private Member's bill. But this time the Parliament would function for 28 hours per week, but the slot of Private Member's bill has been cancelled. So the time for normal parliamentary business is same, then what is the need for curtailing question hour," he said.
Both the opposition CPM and the BJP have slammed the TMC government in West Bengal for curtailing the Question Hour and termed it a reflection of the "double standard of the TMC".
"The TMC is demanding Question Hour during the upcoming Parliament session, scheduled to be held from September 14 to October 1, but it has decided not to include it in the Assembly proceedings in West Bengal.
This is nothing but double standard of the party," BJP legislature party leader in West Bengal Assembly Manoj Tigga said.
CPM politburo member Mohammed Salim said the state's ruling dispensation should stop throwing crumbs at opposition parties.
"Height of doublespeak! You don't allow #QuestionHour where ministers have to stand up and answer Qs from MLAs and be held accountable. Stop throwing crumbs. This is West Bengal legislative Assembly, not your Nabanna!" Salim tweeted.
Nabanna is the West Bengal state secretariat.