Parliament cannot be reduced to an extension of political acrimony: Naidu

NEW DELHI, Jan 5: Parliament is a political institution and cannot be an extension of politics that is marked by deep divisions and acrimony, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu observed in his valedictory remarks before adjourning the Upper House sine die at the end of its Winter Session.

In an obvious reference to the acrimonious scenes in the House between Government and Opposition parties over the Triple Talaq Bill, Mr Naidu asked members to review, recall and introspect how they conducted the proceedings of the Council of States. Some important business, he said, was transacted during the just-concluded session but it could have been better than what it proved to be.

”The legislatures of our country, including the apex Parliament, need to quickly evolve in the way we conduct proceedings so as to meet the needs of our evolving nation,” the Vice-President observed. He described as unfortunate the fact that despite discharging its responsibilities to some extent, the House ended up losing some degree of the esteem of the people on account of disruptions and substantial loss of functional time.

”Intense and passionate submissions and debates are the order of democracy, but disruptions are certainly not. We need to extend ourselves to make up for the missed opportunities and time,” Mr Naidu pointed out. He, however, appreciated members cutting across party lines to speak in one voice regarding death row Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav meeting his family members in a Pakistan jail.

Mr Naidu had intervened to break the deadlock in the Upper House over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on his predecessor Manmohan Singh regarding a Pakistan conspiracy. On Friday, he expressed satisfaction that both the sides of the House reaffirmed their commitment to respect and uphold the high office of the Prime Minister and his predecessor.

Commenting on the loss of functional time due to disruptions and adjournments, he said it was a matter of ”deep discomfort” that the House lost 34 hours of valuable working time as against the period of 41 hours of business transacted.

During the 13 sittings of the session, nine Government Bills were passed despite disruptions and adjournments, 19 Private Members’ Bills were introduced and one Private Member’s Bill was discussed at length. During the five days when the Question Hour was taken up, 46 starred questions were orally answered besides 51 members making zero hour submissions and another 28 MPs making special mentions on matters of public importance.

Mr Naidu has set a deadline of taking up at least 10 questions during the Question Hour and has expressed his displeasure over questioners abstaining themselves from the Rajya Sabha when their listed questions are called. ”The questioner should be sharp and the ministers should be brief in their replies. My operation depends on your cooperation,” he is often heard saying. (UNI)