The Lead

Extremely hurt over disruptions in Lok Sabha: Speaker

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New Delhi:  Expressing anguish over the disruptions in Lok Sabha proceedings during the Monsoon session, Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday said he was “extremely hurt” and voiced hope that parties will, through consensus, ensure that members follow the rules strictly and maintain the dignity of the House.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before schedule, after Opposition protests over the Pegasus snooping row, farm laws and other issues continuously marred the proceedings since the start of the session on July 19.
Addressing a press conference, Birla said out of the total 96 hours, the House functioned for only 21 hours and its productivity reduced to 22 percent due to the ruckus.
He disapproved of the members coming into the Well and shouting slogans, saying presiding officers have maintained that such conduct was unacceptable.
“I am pained with continuous disruptions of the House. I don’t have words to express my anguish over the ruckus in the House… I am extremely hurt,” Birla said.
The Speaker said he will call a meeting of leaders of all parties to build consensus on ways to ensure that rules are strictly followed and to discuss stringent action against habitual offenders.
Birla said the people of the country expect Parliament, which is the temple of democracy, to function so that elected representatives can raise matters of public concern and feel saddened when it does not happen.
Asserting that the House can only run through dialogue and consensus, the Speaker said he also held several meetings with leaders from both treasury and opposition sides to end the logjam but it could not happen due to several factors.
“Members should maintain the dignity of Parliament and help run the House according to traditions… It is a collective responsibility,” he said while replying to questions, and expressed confidence that the next session will be more productive.
His remarks came on a day Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu broke down in the Upper House while expressing anguish over the unruly conduct of MPs, who had climbed on the officers’ table in the Well and hurled files on Tuesday, and said that they had committed sacrilege.
On possible action to check unruly behaviour of members, Birla said it is not necessary that action would yield the desired result, but added that he will call a meeting of leaders from all parties to discuss “stringent action against habitual offenders”.
Though the session was stormy, but still Lok Sabha managed to pass a raft of bills, including the Constitution amendment bill that will allow states to make their OBC lists.
The session was in sharp contrast to the last Budget session when the Lower House saw 114 percent productivity.
Birla also informed that the construction of the new Parliament building is expected to be completed before August 15 next year.
After the Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and floor leaders of various other parties met the Speaker in his chamber over tea.

 

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