Modi Turned Parliament Into Deep, Dark Chamber’: Derek O’Brien

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NEW DELHI — Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien on Tuesday said the outgoing Lok Sabha has many “dubious firsts”, and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of turning Parliament into a “deep, dark chamber”.

In a post on X, the Parliamentary Party Leader of the TMC in Rajya Sabha also said that this was the first time that no deputy speaker was appointed, and the prime minister did not answer a single question, PTI reported.

“Mr Narendra Modi, since you are in my city today, care to tell us all why you have mocked Parliament and turned it into a deep dark chamber,” he said.

“Goodbye to the 17th Lok Sabha. This was a Lok Sabha of many dubious firsts,” he said.

“In terms of number of sittings, this was the least productive Lok Sabha (lowest days worked) since 1952. No Deputy Speaker was appointed for its entirety,” he said.

The 17th Lok Sabha had the lowest number of sittings among the Lok Sabhas that had a full term of five years.

According to data compiled by think-tank PRS Legislative Research, the 17th Lok Sabha had 272 sittings altogether over its five year tenure from 2019-2024.

The 16th Lok Sabha had 331 sittings, while the 15th and 14th Lok Sabha under the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had 332 and 356 sittings respectively. The 13th Lok Sabha had 356 sittings.

“The prime minister did not answer a single question on the floor of the House…Not a single notice by a member of the opposition was accepted for discussion (Rule 267) in Rajya Sabha,” he stated.

“An MP from the treasury was permitted to use communal slurs on the floor of the House…” he said in an apparent reference to BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri who was accused of using a communal slur in the Lok Sabha.

Referring to the security breach in Parliament, he said, “First-ever Security Breach Inside Lok Sabha… 146 MPs from the opposition were suspended for demanding a discussion about the breach”.

In a major security breach on December 13, 2023, two persons — Sagar Sharma and Manoranjan D — jumped into the Lok Sabha chamber from the public gallery during Zero Hour, released yellow gas from canisters and shouted slogans before being overpowered by the MPs.

Around the same time, two other accused — Amol Shinde and Neelam Devi — also sprayed coloured gas from canisters while shouting “tanashahi nahi chalegi” outside Parliament premises.

Following the breach, 100 MPs were suspended in the Lok Sabha, and 46 MPs were suspended in Rajya Sabha for protesting and disrupting the proceedings as they demanded a discussion on the breach.

“About 300 questions by opposition MPs were deleted,” he added.

As the MPs were suspended, about 264 questions raised by the suspended Opposition MPs were deleted from the list of queries in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha during the session.

According to a report of the PRS, since December 14, when the first batch of MPs were suspended, till the end of the Winter Session, 12 percent of the questions were cancelled in Lok Sabha and 13 percent in Rajya Sabha.

As part of the campaigning in the last phase of Lok Sabha polls, Modi will hold a mega roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday. Two seats of Kolkata Uttar and Kolkata Dakshin will be voting in the seventh phase on June 1.

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