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How Parliament is functioning under Modi government

PM Modi has ruffled feathers and hit the headlines with his speeches in both Houses in the last two years, he has mostly kept away from the proceedings.

Updated: May 17, 2016, 01.13 PM IST
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Prime Minister Modi has ruffled feathers and hit the headlines with his speeches in both Houses in the last two years, he has mostly kept away from the proceedings of Parliament.
Prime Minister Modi has ruffled feathers and hit the headlines with his speeches in both Houses in the last two years, he has mostly kept away from the proceedings of Parliament.
NEW DELHI: Both Houses of Parliament have undergone several changes in equations and functioning in the last two years since the NDA came to power with Narendra Modi leaving the firefighting to his trusted top ministers and confining himself only to occasional speech-making even as the Congress has resorted to frequently jumping into the Well of the Lok Sabha and forcing the government to send Bills to Select Committees in the Upper House.

Though Prime Minister Modi has ruffled feathers and hit the headlines with his speeches in both Houses in the last two years, he has mostly kept away from the proceedings of Parliament.

The opposition has often demanded that the Prime Minister come to the House and express his views on important issues or Bills. Incidentally, the Prime Minister spends a lot of time in the Parliament House complex when a session is on — provided he is not travelling abroad or out campaigning in some Assembly election — but does not attend House proceedings. He meets his ministers and does his work from the PM office located in the complex. In the first year of Modi sarkar, the Opposition had criticised PM for spending most of his time abroad during House sessions.

To his credit, when Modi is present in the House he does walk up to the opposition benches before the day’s proceedings begin and shakes hands with leaders of various parties. He has also been there during important speeches of top opposition leaders or oath taking by Rajya Sabha members. Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh hardly made speeches but did take members by surprise when he would get up and reply to their queries once in a while. The second change in the House has been that several leaders known for their oratory have virtually gone silent. Sushma Swaraj, once a fiery Leader of the Opposition, is hardly heard in Parliament. Neither is S S Ahluwalia, who used to be hyperactive in the Upper House as Deputy Leader. He is now in the Lok Sabha. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley does the firefighting on behalf of the government in both Houses.

Modi Sarkar@2: How has Modi's second year been? Find out here

In Rajya Sabha, the other voice heard from the Treasury Benches is that of junior Parliament Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi while in the LS the party’s numerical strength ensures the opposition is shouted down. With just 44 members, Congress has resorted to frequent trips to the Well of the House with its young members shouting slogans. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mallikarjun Kharge are the star speakers. A big change in the 16th LS has been the emergence of Rahul Gandhi. His “suit-boot ki sarkar” jibe and his speeches have put the government on the backfoot.

He has also strengthened his team of young MPs. However, his attendance is a matter of concern. The RS has witnessed stonewalling of Bills by the opposition which outnumbers the ruling NDA. Government has been forced to send important Bills — even after they have been vetted by the respective Standing Committee — to a Select Committee of the House. There is also an unprecedented presence of saffron robes and star power in the 16th LS.

Those in saffron robes include Sakshi Maharaj, Sadhvi Savitri Bai Phoole, Sumedhanand Saraswati, Chand Nath Yogi, Uma Bharti and Yogi Adityanath. The stars in the Lower House include Hema Malini, Babul Supriyo, Paresh Rawal, Vinod Khanna, Kirron Kher, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Shatrughan Sinha, Baker, Moon Moon Sen, Tapas Pal and Satabdi Roy.

6 takeaways from 2 years of Modi Sarkar

PM Modi has confined himself to occasional speeches in Parliament; is present only on important occasions.

SUSHMA SWARAJ , who was a fiery orator as Leader of Opposition, now sticks to her brief as Foreign Minister. Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu main firefighters. Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Ghulam Nabi Azad hold fort for Oppositon.

SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY’S entry in Rajya Sabha — where govt is in a minority — has given more firepower to BJP to take on Opposition.

RAHUL GANDHI has made a mark. His suit-boot-ki-sarkar jibe cornered the government. But his attendance is an issue

OPPOSITION FORCES BJP-led NDA to send most Bills to Select Committee in Rajya Sabha

SAFFRON ROBES and star power on the rise in 16th Lok Sabha.
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