Arguing that the Budget Session was an “eminently forgettable” one, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu Friday said that there was a “total breakdown” in communication among various sections of the House, resulting in the “prolonged stalemate”.
Recalling the debate in the Constituent Assembly, he said the Upper House should not become a clog in the wheel of progress.
Reminding the members that Jawaharlal Nehru had “feared in 1936 that a Second Chamber (Council of States) would check any forward tendencies of the Lower House and will be reactionary”, Naidu asked, “Are we making Nehru-ji’s worst fears come true? I hope we are not.”
He said in his customary valedictory speech, “You should instead dispel fears expressed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who despite reservations about the utility of this House supported it. Nehruji also supported it at the end and said that its coming into being will be in the interest of the country. You need to rise to the expectations of those who strongly justified the need for this House in the Constituent Assembly,”
While treasury benches thumped the desks, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and senior Congress leaders such as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heard him attentively.
The second leg of the Budget Session was a total washout primarily due to protests by parties from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The Upper House lost over 124 hours, Naidu said. The situation was such that of the 419 starred questions listed, only five could be replied to orally.
No legislative work was transacted except passing of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2018 without any discussion, he added. “I am pained that it (session) turned out to be an eminently forgettable one on account of utter disregard of the mandate of this important Parliamentary institution,” he said.
“At the end of such a long session, what can we show to the people as our contribution towards addressing their concerns and furthering their genuine aspirations? I am afraid, nothing. As a result, we are all losers. This includes the Opposition, the ruling party, the government,” he said.
Naidu asked members not to indulge in blame-game for ruining of the session and instead “collectively introspect for the future.” Naidu said he was “disturbed to note a total breakdown in communication among various sections of the House”.
Arguing that the best way forward is to debate and decide, instead of disrupt and derail, he spoke against exhibiting of placards, banners or party flags, and said shouting of slogans should be totally avoided inside the House and on Parliament premises.
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