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Bill flood in winter

New Delhi, Dec. 19: Parliament’s winter session, which commenced on November 18, should conclude pleasantly tomorrow as the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will not be delivering their customary closure speeches.

Last year, two of the sessions had ended on a bitter note after Sonia Gandhi criticised Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Prime Minister hit back.

Fearing a bitter end to an otherwise calm session, parliamentary sources today said Speaker Manohar Joshi will simply make a statement in the House tomorrow.

After a spate of stormy sessions, the winter session turned out to be smooth, when 42 Bills were passed. This is the highest number of Bills passed by both Houses in any session in the last four years.

Though marred by a record low attendance, the 23-day session passed 42 Bills — of which over a dozen were very important — in both Houses.

The Bills included those on freedom of information, biological diversity, amendment of companies Act, Sebi, UTI, and Representation of Peoples Act amendment.

Since the winter session of 1952, this is the second highest number of Bills passed by both Houses. The highest was 47 in 1971, when there were 31 sittings of both Houses compared to 23 this time, parliamentary affairs minister Pramod Mahajan said.

Except a half-hour adjournment, this session had no other adjournments, he said. Mahajan described it as a “win-win” situation for the Centre as well as the Opposition because, besides the legislations, the session hosted one of the highest numbers of discussions demanded by the Opposition.

Apart from the debates under adjournment motions on the Gujarat violence and the drought, there were discussions in the Lok Sabha on the political situation in Uttar Pradesh, disinvestment and internal security. One on atrocities against Dalits has been scheduled for tomorrow.

The Rajya Sabha, too, hosted six discussions, including those on the Gujarat violence, drought, divestment and Uttar Pradesh.

Among the important legislations still pending with Parliament are the Bills on Women’s Reservation, Central Vigilance Commission and Lok Pal.

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