Parliament’s custodians hope public issues will get focus than political agenda in 2022
New Delhi: As Parliament is set to get a new building in 2022, the presiding officers of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are hopeful that MPs would not view the legislature merely as an extension of politics and the new structure would see India’s parliamentary democracy shine in new grandeur.
The year 2021, which started on a low note with opposition parties boycotting the president’s joint address to both houses of Parliament, ended with suspension of at least 13 MPs from the upper house for their unruly behaviour.
Repeal of farm laws and phone tapping using spyware Pegasus were the issues vociferously raised by opposition leading to frequent adjournments of both houses last year.
The farm laws which remained the most contentious issue throughout the year had to be repealed in the winter session, not before hitting the productivity. The productivity of Lok Sabha was around 70 per cent and that of Rajya Sabha was 59 per cent in 2021.
Logjam and disruptions marred all three sessions in the year, affecting the most the monsoon session, which touched new low as it witnessed ugly scenes of opposition members standing on the secretary general’s table throwing books and jostling between members and the security staff.
The spillover was witnessed during the entire winter session with 12 opposition MPs suspended for their unruly behaviour in the monsoon session. They sat on dharna in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament premises.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien was then suspended from Parliament for the rest of the winter session after he allegedly threw the rule book at the Chair and walked out of Rajya Sabha during protests over an election reforms bill.
Hoping for better a 2022, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said protests are a part of political contestation and integral to the functioning of legislatures but persistent disruptions, disregarding the sanctity of the rules and the authority of the Chair derail the functioning of the House.
“Parliament should not be viewed as a mere extension of politics. Rather politics should further the cause of the parliamentary project. This new politics is the need of the hour. Enter the New Year with a resolve that this concord marks the functioning of Parliament in the new grand structure so that our parliamentary democracy shines in a new grandeur,” he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said people expect that parliamentarians keep their issues and policy matters at forefront in Parliament, not the politics of their respective parties.
“Public issues and policy related matters should supersede a party’s political agenda in Parliament. This is what people expect from MPs and this approach will further strengthen democracy and people’s faith in Parliament,” he said.
India is going to complete its 75 years of independence this year, Birla said, hoping that parliamentarians will set new benchmarks of healthy discussions and debates in the new building and which will usher in a new era of new politics of debate and discussion without any disruption.
Parliament is set to function from the new triangular shaped building coming up in the same premises. The new building is expected to start holding proceedings from the winter session this year.