NEW DELHI: The TMC has posed eight questions to the Centre in response to a press conference by eight Union ministers on Thursday blaming the Opposition for the unruly scenes witnessed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Putting the blame squarely on the Opposition, the ministers said the Rajya Sabha chairman must take the strongest possible action against those who broke rules.
In a tweet, leader of the TMC in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien said: “8 Ministers just addressed a press conference. To them we ask. Answer even one of these 8 questions. Try. Then talk to us about #Parliament. The United Opposition have a strong case. You are full of faff.”
At a press conference, O’Brien, along with TMC’s Lok Sabha MP Saugata Roy and vice-president of the party Yashwant Sinha, hit out at the government, saying it should respond to these questions regarding the “operating procedures” of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
“What option does the Opposition have in a parliamentary democracy when the government crosses all limits? Do we still sit on our seats and suck lollipops? We represent more than 60 per cent of the people of India. Remember, the BJP got 37 per cent votes in the 2019 (Lok Sabha) election,” O’Brien said.
The party asked where the prime minister and the home minister were while the session was underway.
“Why couldn’t they find time to come and be present in Parliament to listen to us? Two former prime ministers, Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, were present in the houses and actively participated in the proceedings.
“The Opposition wanted a discussion on internal security, (the) Pegasus (snooping row) and the NSO connection, but the government did not allow it. We also wanted a debate on the farmers’ protests, but even that did not happen. Why?” O’Brien asked.
The TMC leaders said a total of 39 bills were passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, without any debate.
“This is not how a democratic country works. The average time of passing a bill was 10 minutes and then you say that the Opposition is disrupting the session,” Roy said.
The TMC leaders pointed out that even in 2014, 60-70 per cent of the bills were sent to parliamentary committees for a review and claimed that now, only 11 per cent of the bills are sent to these panels.
Raising another question on the use of ordinances by the government, they said these are used for passing extremely important bills on an emergency basis.
They said in the first 30 years since independence, only one ordinance was used for every 10 bills and claimed that almost four ordinances are being used for every 10 bills now.
“The prime minister is avoiding Parliament. Even Manmohan Singh was never that comfortable with the parliamentary system, but he used to answer our questions on a designated day. However, ever since the BJP came to power, (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi has never answered any questions. This is hooliganism,” O’Brien alleged.
The TMC leaders also questioned the government over its inability to appoint a deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha.
“The government says it has a huge majority in the Lok Sabha. It’s been two years, where is the deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha? Why has anyone not been appointed yet?” they asked.