The Budget Session concluded on Thursday after both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die following massive protests by the Opposition.
The second leg of the Budget Session has witnessed disruptions almost every day since it commenced on March 13, as Bharatiya Janata Party MPs have been demanding an apology from Congress MP Rahul Gandhi for his remarks in London that democracy was under attack in India.
Opposition parties, too, have been holding protests against Gandhi’s disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP following his conviction in a defamation case. They are also seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the allegations made by American firm Hindenburg Research about the Adani Group.
Gandhi, who was the MP from Wayanad, was disqualified on March 23 after a Gujarat court convicted him to two years in jail in a defamation case for his remarks about the prime minister’s surname. The court, however, granted him bail and suspended his sentence for 30 days in order to allow him to appeal against the verdict. A Surat court, later, extended his bail till April 13.
On Thursday, several MPs of the Opposition parties conducted a ‘Tricolour March’ from the Parliament House to Vijay Chowk, alleging that democracy is under attack by the BJP, reported The Indian Express.
Besides the Congress, MPs from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Aam Aadmi Party and National Congress Party were present.
“If the government is not listening, it is stubborn,” Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, according to ANI. “The whole Parliament session was a washout. If you want democracy to be alive then listening to the opposition is important.”
Meanwhile, the BJP accused the Congress of disrupting the Houses.
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju alleged that the Congress and other Opposition parties created a ruckus in the House and insulted Parliament by wearing black clothes, reported PTI.
“This is unfortunate for the country,” Rijiju said. “We want the dignity of Parliament to be maintained. “What Congress and its supporters are doing for one MP, Rahul Gandhi, the nation is watching.”
On May 24, the Lok Sabha had approved the Union Budget envisaging an expenditure of around Rs 45 lakh crore for the financial year 2023-’24 without any debate. The Demands for Grants and Appropriation Bills, which allocate funds for various ministries, had come up in the Lok Sabha amid protests in both the Opposition and treasury benches.
LS functioned for 45 hours, RS for 31 hours
The Lok Sabha functioned for over 45 hours against a scheduled duration of 133.6 hours during the Budget Session, data compiled by the think tank PRS Legislative showed. The Rajya Sabha worked for over 31 hours out of 130 hours.
Both Houses of Parliament also witnessed repetitive adjournments during the Question Hour.
According to PRS Legislative, the Lok Sabha could take questions for 4.32 hours while the figure for Rajya Sabha was at 1.85 hours for the entire Budget Session.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankar said that disorder in Parliament was turning out to be “the new order”.
“How worrisome and alarming!” Dhankar said in his valedictory remarks. “Paramountcy of debate, dialogue, deliberation and discussion in Parliament has yielded to disruption and disturbance”