Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday accused the government of running away from a debate on issues such as Chinese transgressions, inflation and unemployment and said this shows its “governance failure”.
He also alleged the Modi government is “rattled” by the “immense support” the Bharat Jodo Yatra is getting, and is finding excuses to stop it.
Chairing a meeting of top leaders on ways to strengthen the organisation and to take forward the party’s soon-to-be launched outreach initiative as a follow-up to the Yatra, Kharge said the Opposition put forward 16 major issues during the Winter Session but the Modi government did not agree to hold a debate on even one of them.
The entire Opposition kept demanding a discussion on national security, inflation and unemployment but the government “kept running away”, giving one fabricated excuse after the other.
“One thing is definitely worth noting that whether it is the question of China’s transgressions or providing employment to the youth, whether it is the rising inflation or any other important issue related to people, the government could not answer on any one of them,” the Congress president said.
“In the name of reply, there were only personal attacks from the BJP. This is a proof of the Modi government’s colossal governance failure,” he alleged.
Talking about the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Kharge said it is creating history and is getting “immense support” from the people. “Due to this, the Modi government is very rattled and is finding excuses to create impediments for the yatra.” He also urged Pradesh Congress committees to ensure that the panels that they form are based on merit.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal, Leader of the House in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and other general secretaries including Randeep Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik, Kumari Selja, Tariq Anwar, Avinash Pandey were present at the meeting.
Party treasurer Pawan Kumar Bansal, Jitendra Singh and all PCC presidents and CLP leaders were also present. The Congress has decided to reach out to every household across the country after the yatra concludes late next month.
In related news, the Winter Session of Parliament, which was adjourned sine die on Friday six days ahead of schedule, is the eighth consecutive session to be cut short, data compiled by a legislative think tank showed.
The session began on December 7 and was scheduled to end on December 29. However, members requested the government and the presiding officers of both the Houses — Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha — to end the proceedings early citing the festive season and New Year celebrations.
Since the 2020 Budget Session, all Parliament sessions have ended before their decided date, the data compiled by PRS Legislative Research showed.
In 2020, the budget and monsoon sessions were both cut short due to a surge in Covid cases. The Budget Session was cut short by 11 days, while the Monsoon Session was adjourned eight days ahead of schedule, data stated. The Winter Session was not held that year due to the pandemic.
Last year, the Budget Session was adjourned 14 days ahead of schedule, according to the think-tank’s data .
Several members in both Houses had demanded that the session — originally scheduled to have sittings till April 8 that year — be curtailed so that they could participate in the election process in certain states and union territories, the government had said in a statement.
The Monsoon Session was adjourned two days ahead of schedule and the Winter Session a day before its planned end, the data showed.
This year, the Budget Session was adjourned a day before schedule, and the Monsoon Session four days ahead of schedule, it stated.
In this Winter Session, Lok Sabha spent around 11 per cent of its time in Question Hours, a total of 7.7 hours, while Rajya Sabha spent 9.8 hours, around 15 per cent, of its scheduled time on questions, according to the data.
Legislative business took around 16 hours or 24 per cent of Lok Sabha’s time, financial business took around 10.9 hours or 16 percent of the total time, while non-legislative business such as debates and matters of urgent public importance took around 48 per cent of the Lower House’s time.
In Rajya Sabha, legislations took around 21 hours or 32 per cent of the total time, financial business was held for around nine hours and non-legislative and other business took around 38 per cent of the Upper House’s time, it stated.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said there was consensus among floor leaders of all parties to cut short the Winter Session of Parliament. “In the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting of Lok Sabha, there was consensus among floor leaders of all political parties to cut short the session,” he told reporters.
Birla’s remarks assume significance as they come against the backdrop of several opposition leaders alleging that the government has been curtailing Parliament sessions.
In Rajya Sabha, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said the productivity of the House was 102 per cent. The House held 13 sittings totalling 64 hours 50 minutes. The productivity of Lok Sabha in the Winter Session was 97 per cent. The House held 13 sittings during which seven bills, including the supplementary demands for grants and the Maritime Anti-Piracy Bill were passed.