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Opposition Members Boycotted Last Day of Monsoon Session Due to Some 'Political Compulsions': Lok Sabha Speaker

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. (Image: ANI)

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. (Image: ANI)

OP Birla credited cooperation from all political parties for the higher productivity of the Lower House, which sat for 60 hours instead of the allotted time of 37 hours.

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Payal Mehta

Ugly scenes in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday leading to an opposition boycott of the proceedings for the last couple days of the Parliament had a rippling effect in the Lower House, Lok Sabha Speaker OP Birla said on Friday. The Lok Sabha opposition chose to boycott the session on Tuesday as they were not allowed to raise the suspension of their colleagues in Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha MPs decided to stay away from the valedictory speech on the last day of the session soon after the Lok Sabha also followed suit and did not attend the ceremony where the Speaker made closing remarks before declaring the house adjourned sine die.

Birla is popular across the parties for being striking a fair balance between treasury benches and the opposition, and has maintained that everyone must work together for the interest of the nation.

While the government has been critical of the Congress and other parties citing their boycott as "disrespect" to the Chair, Birla says he has been speaking to the opposition leaders. He said he called the floor leaders of all opposition parties for a meeting over a cup of tea and requested them to attend the valedictory proceedings of the house.

"Whatever happened in the Rajya Sabha is not for me to discuss; however, boycotting the valedictory session is not in good spirit. I have met opposition party leaders even after that. I do not hold anything against them because every political party has its own compulsions," he said.

"The opposition leaders boycotted the last day of the session due to some political compulsions, while they conveyed to me that they had no issues with me," he said at a press conference on the conclusion of the Monsoon Session.

Birla emphasised that the dignity of the House and its Chair is an important aspect of the parliamentary system and it is the duty of all members to respect the highest values that democracy represents.

"The faith of people in the parliamentary form of government has increased over the years and continued efforts should be made on how to further strengthen it," he said.

Underlining that the productivity of the Lok Sabha was at a historic 167%, he said despite the threat of COVID-19, the average attendance of MPs in the Lower House during this session was more than 300, which sends a very positive message and strengthens peoples' faith in democratic institutions.

Birla credited cooperation from all political parties for the higher productivity, with the House passing 25 Bills. "The Lok Sabha sat for 60 hours instead of the allotted time of 37 hours. In fact, despite the curtailment of the session due to COVID-19, the Lok Sabha was able to function optimally with minimal loss of productivity," he said.

On the issue of the Question Hour, Birla said members were given ample opportunities to raise matters concerning peoples' welfare through written questions and the Zero Hour. Highlighting the enhanced participation of members during the Zero Hour, Birla said it shows they were given enough opportunities to express their views and were encouraged to participate in the discussions.

Talking about curtailment of the session, Birla said the decision was taken with a consensus in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Monsoon Session, which started on September 14, concluded on September 23, eight days before the scheduled end on October 1. When asked about new Parliament building, Birla said the construction work has started and it will be completed within 21 months.

(With inputs from PTI)


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