Several opposition parliamentarians questioned the government over the removal of Question Hour on day one of the Parliament’s monsoon session proceedings on Monday. Parliamentarians from Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) said that there are several issues like unemployment, NEET exams and national security should have been discussed.
Union defence minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Rajnath Singh appealed to all parliamentarians present on day one of the monsoon session in the Lok Sabha to ensure the proceedings went smoothly.
Singh outlined to the parliamentarians that the proceedings are being held under extraordinary circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to news agency ANI, “Leaders of most parties agreed over no Question Hour & Zero Hour for 30 minutes. We apprised you (Speaker) of it following which decision was taken by you. I appeal to all members of the House to co-operate as Session is being held in an extraordinary situation.”
Few MPs including leader of the Indian National Congress in the House Adhir Ranjan Choudhury were concerned about the removal of Question Hour as well as the limiting of Zero Hour to 30 minutes.
Choudhury said, “Question Hour is the golden hour but you say that it can’t be held due to the circumstances. You conduct the proceedings but single out Question Hour. You are trying to strangulate democracy.”
NCP MP Supriya Sule said that India is not the only country facing the pandemic and discussions on important issues cannot be set aside. She said, “This is a global scenario & we’re not the only country going through it. But it should be the priority of govt. I don’t see this govt at the Centre talking extensively either about the economy or unemployment challenges. We should put it on priority.”
The monsoon session is being held keeping in mind that the pandemic continues to affect the nation as it recorded more than a thousand deaths and registered more than 90,000 cases for almost a week in a row.
Parliamentarians underwent Covid-19 tests, premises were sanitised on a war footing and the Upper House and Lower House proceedings will be held in two shifts.
Opposition party MPs are protesting against the motion to scrap Question Hour and private member bills during the session. The government looks forward to introducing the motion on October 1.