Parliament session curtailed, govt evades discussion on Chinese aggression on LAC
This is the eighth time in a row that a parliament session has been curtailed, not to speak of the already reduced average number of sittings in a year
The Narendra Modi government evaded discussion on the Chinese aggression and activities along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) during the winter session of Parliament despite repeated requests—and some ruckus—by the Opposition.
In fact, the winter session was cut short by at least five working days. The session stared on December 7 and was scheduled to conclude on December 29. However, both the Houses were adjourned sine die on Friday, December 23.
This is the eighth time in a row that a parliament session has been curtailed, not to speak of the already reduced average number of sittings in a year.
While Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla told media persons that there was consensus among floor leaders of all political parties to cut short the session, some opposition MPs pointed out that the winter session was pushed ahead in view of the Gujarat assembly elections—crucial for the government as it is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi—where the entire battery of Union ministers was busy campaigning.
· The monsoon session this year was cut short by four days as it concluded on August 8 instead of the scheduled August 12
· The Budget session was shortened by a day. Parliament adjourned on April 7 instead of April 8
· The winter session last year (2021) was cut short by a day as parliament adjourned on 22 December 2021
· The same year, the monsoon session had been curtailed by two days. House adjourned on 11 August instead of the scheduled 13 August 2021
· The Budget session of 2021 was cut short by over two weeks. Instead of the scheduled 8 April, Parliament was adjourned sine die on 25 March
· The monsoon session of 2020 was curtailed by over a week with Parliament dispersing on 23 September against the scheduled date of 1st October 2020
· The Budget session in the same year was shortened by 11 days. In place of the scheduled adjournment of 3 April 2020, Parliament adjourned on 23 March 2020
The Chinese Aggression in Tawang
During the recently concluded session, Opposition members in both the Houses pressed for discussion on the border issue with China, which was turned down by presiding officers.
Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the LAC in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 and the face-off resulted in “minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides” according to defence minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in Parliament.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on December 13 made a brief statement in both the Houses of Parliament about the clash in Tawang—four days after the incident and after noisy demands by the Opposition to take Parliament in confidence. However, the government refused to entertain any queries from the Opposition and requests for any further discussion on the issue were turned down by the Chairs in both Houses.
Also, the Opposition moved a notice under Rule 267 in the Rajya Sabha for a discussion on the issue, which entails suspension of the day’s listed business to discuss a topic of national importance, if the Chair permits. However, the Rajya Sabha chair has not admitted a single notice under Rule 267 since 2016.
The last time a notice under Rule 267 was admitted was in 2016—under the chairmanship of M. Hamid Ansari—to discuss demonetisation. Which means that Venkaiah Naidu did not allow even a single discussion under Rule 267 though the Opposition regularly moved such notices over key issues. His predecessor Hamid Ansari had admitted four such notices between 2013-2016.
In 2004, Bhairon Singh Shaikhawat as the Rajya Sabha chairman had allowed discussion under Rule 267 three times in a year.
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