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Troubled Monsoon Session of Parliament ends

New Delhi, Sep 7 (PTI): The Monsoon Session of Parliament came to an end on Friday after most of its sittings were washed out over the controversial coal block allocation issue with Bharatiya Janata Party remaining unrelenting on its demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The second-worst session since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections functioned for only six out of 19 days and was paralysed for remaining period due to the stand-off between government and BJP.

The worst session was the Winter Session of 2010 which was a complete washout due to the Opposition demand for setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee in to the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

”This Session is likely to be remembered for the work that was not done,” observed Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari while adjourning the House sine die.

Minutes before, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned Lok Sabha sine die without making the customary concluding address. The Prime Minister and Leader of Lok Sabha Sushilkumar Shinde were present when the House was adjourned.

Observing that the data on work done was “in no need of commentary”, Ansari regretted that 62 hours were lost in the din during the session which began on August 8. Only three bills could be passed. While Question Hour was taken up once in the 19-day session, only 11 out of 399 starred questions could be taken up.

The Constitution amendment bill for providing reservation in promotions to SCs and STs was introduced amid high drama with the Upper House proceedings witnessing a new low with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party members coming to fisticuffs.

The measure could not be taken up for consideration and passage, despite being listed for the last three days due to vociferous protests by SP and Shiv Sena. BSP supremo Mayawati's suggestion to extend the session for passage of the bill did not find favour among other parties.

The controversy over coal block allocation continued even though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a statement in both Houses of Parliament on August 27 in the light of the CAG report.

A highlight of the session was the bonhomie between the ruling alliance and the Opposition witnessed during the unanimous election of P J Kurien as the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha on August 21.

It was again visible on Friday, the last day of the session, when the Opposition greeted Kurien as sat next to Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitely.

Both the Houses of Parliament showed solidarity with the people of North East, with Rajya Sabha adopting a unanimous resolution demanding a thorough probe into the spread of rumours that created panic and assuring them that they are safe anywhere in the country, while urging them to go back to their places of work and study.

The session also saw Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar beginning his innings as an MP when he attended Rajya Sabha as its member. Nominated to the Upper House in April, he had taken oath during the inter-session period.

The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, aimed at protecting those exposing corruption, could not be passed as discussions remained incomplete on this anti-graft measure.

Though the government had listed around 30 bills for consideration and passing in Lok Sabha, only four bills were passed in the month-long session and that too in din without any discussion.

The Rajya Sabha could pass only three bills including the AIIMS amendment bill. Two bills - Armed Forces Tribunal (Amendment) Bill and the Constitution (117th rpt 117th) Amendment bill to provide quota in promotion to SCs/STs - could only be introduced. The last three days saw commotion and drama in the Upper House over quota in promotion bill.

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar said it was sad that Parliament could not transact normal business during the session.

”In our democracy, sometimes there are forms of dissent, which disturb us. But we are all staunch believers in the functioning democracy of our country and I am very hopeful that a solution will be found, situation will normalise and Parliament will function,” she said after the session ended. Both the Houses offered felicitations to Indian sportspersons for winning medals at London Olympics, 2012.

The session also witnessed sad demise of Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. Both Houses condoled the death of Deshmukh, a sitting member of Rajya Sabha. Parliament also condoled the death of cine star Rajesh Khanna, Captain Lakshmi Sehgal and eight former members of the Upper House.

In the Rajya Sabha, none of the eight short notice questions admitted could be taken up. So was the fate of all three short duration discussions listed on price rise, drought and food security.

None of the four matters of urgent public importance listed in the form of calling attention motions came up for discussion. Similarly, three half-an-hour discussions listed could not be proceeded with.

The Upper House also gave farewell to its Secretary General V K Agnihotri. The Rajya Sabha discussed the issue regarding need to create a separate state of Telangana through a private member's resolution.