The session that wasn’t: In 23 days, Lok Sabha met for 7 hrs 30 mins; Rajya Sabha for 2 hrs 44 mins
In all, in the House of the People, there was little people's business. Seven minutes were spent on the money bills and supplementary grants were passed in the din. The Railway budget saw four minutes being spent on it. While the House spent seven hours and 30 minutes sitting, the time lost due to interruptions and adjournments was 124 hours and 40 minutes. 480 starred questions were admitted and only 5 were answered orally.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal appeared embittered as he informed reporters that while dialogue was always welcome, no meeting had been fixed to try and resolve the impasse. He criticised the NDA and the Left for wanting to "destabilize" the government.
Meira Kumar's counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari minced no words as he said: "Peace prevailed only when obituaries were read." He said the session had "distinctive features — no debates or discussions on matters of public interest, no special mentions were laid on the table, no zero hour interventions were sought, no questions were answered orally and no supplementary questions were raised."
The Rajya Sabha passed four appropriation bills, but the House assembled for merely two hours and 44 minutes in 23 days.
Ansari, who spoke in the presence of senior Opposition leaders and the PM, urged "all sections of the House" to "introspect on the record of this session to seek the distinction between dissent, remonstration, agitation and disruption."
For the Opposition, it was about wishing to queer the pitch to take things to a point that they had reached when Jayprakash Narayan issued a call for 'total revolution'. There was also no real unity with the NDA on its own and 'other' smaller parties firmly choosing to keep themselves away from it.
For the government, this session was a communications disaster as it was not able to effectively convince people why it was so opposed to a JPC, it was not able to split the Opposition and it could not convincingly take its allies along.