Parliament adjourns sine die; winter session washed out on 2G scam

Parliament adjourns sine die; winter session washed out on 2G scam

Parliament adjourns sine die; winter session washed out on 2G scam

Parliament could function barely for a few hours during the 23 sittings which began on November 9, as the united Opposition forced adjournments almost everyday, within minutes of assembling.

Opposition members trooping into the well and shouting slogans demanding JPC probe into the 2G spectrum allocation became a daily routine in both Houses. Normalcy was seen in the Lok Sabha only on the first day of the session when the Rajya Sabha was adjourned because of death of a sitting member.

Despite a number of meetings between the government and Opposition, the impasse continued as the BJP-led NDA, the Left parties, AIADMK, SP, TDP and BJD persisted with their demand for a JPC into the 2G spectrum scam.

The Opposition got a shot in the arm after the CAG report, tabled in Parliament on November 16, said the spectrum allocation in 2008 had caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The Opposition was not satisfied even though Telecom Minister A Raja quit. The government, on the other hand, continuously rejected the demand for JPC maintaining that the Public Accounts Committee was adequately equipped to probe the irregularities.

This session earned the dubious distinction of being virtually washed out, although Parliament had witnessed logjam for 17 days over Tehelka scam in 2001 and disruptions for 45 days over Bofors scandal in 1987.

Before adjourning the Upper House sine die, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari conveyed his displeasure stating the 221st session displayed "distinct" features and asked members to introspect.

"No debates or discussions on matters of public interest took place; no special mentions were made or laid on the table; no zero hour interventions were sought; no questions were answered orally and no supplementary questions were raised," he said.

Ansari said all sections of the House would "perhaps introspect on the record of this session to seek the distinction between dissent, remonstration, agitation and disruption."

When asked for her reaction on the ongoing logjam, Speaker Meira Kumar said outside the House, "I am anguished" at the situation. Amid the pandemonium, the government managed to get its financial bills involving supplementary demands for about Rs 46,000 crore passed.

As per the data compiled by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, more than 100 hours were lost because of opposition protest on 2G spectrum scam, corruption charges in Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing Society.

Even the matters of urgent public importance listed as calling attention during the session could not be taken up. These included plight of small loan borrowers, handloom weavers and frequent railway accidents.

However, when it came to paying homage to the martyrs of Parliament attack on December 13, 2001, the opposition and treasury benches displayed solidarity. They also joined hands in felicitating sports heroes of Commonwealth Games including Saina Nehwal who recently won Hong Kong super series badminton tournament.