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House adjourned and with loads of time, MPs read, talk politics

Sunday December 18, 2011 06:44:30 PM, Prashant Sood, IANS

New Delhi: How were MPs keeping themselves occupied during the wasted days of this winter session? Well, reading was by far the favourite pursuit of lawmakers, besides discussing politics, writing letters to ministers and attending social events and other functions.

Parliament has had 17 sittings so far in the winter session, of which it has functioned normally for only seven days.

Rajendra Agrawal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Meerut, said he reads books and meets people from his constituency whenever the house is adjourned early.

Members of a Meerut-based organisation, including women and children, had come to witness parliament proceedings in the first week of December. However, as the guests entered parliament, the house was adjourned. So, Agarwal accompanied the group from his constituency on a round of Parliament House to give them a feel of the country's biggest institution of democracy.

"They had come to witness Lok Sabha proceedings but the house was adjourned before the scheduled time of their entry to the visitors gallery," Agrawal told IANS.

The daily adjournments also gave Agrawal the time to head off to Meerut to attend local events and marriages.

"I was able to spend more time at the marriages," he said.

The winter session, which began Nov 22, witnessed daily adjournments for the first nine days after the opposition created a ruckus on various issues, mainly on price rise and Foreign Direct Investment in retail. It started functioning again from Dec 7 after the issue of FDI in retail was put on hold.

But on Dec 15 and 16, both houses were again adjourned with the opposition demanding the resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram alleging he was involved in quashing criminal cases against a businessman he represented as a lawyer in 1999.

The two houses have mostly been adjourned in the pre-lunch period due to opposition demands and noisy scenes.

Ashok Argal, BJP MP from Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, says he went to his constituency to attend a marriage after the Lok Sabha was adjourned on the FDI issue.

"I had gone to attend a marriage and returned the next day," Argal said.

Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib, Ravneet Singh, said he visits ministers in their offices regarding work of people from his constituency after adjournment of the house in the afternoon session.

The young MP said he has also been joining his colleagues from Punjab over lunch to discuss assembly polls in the state likely to be held early next year.

He said that people do not like disruptions of Parliament and MPs have to face criticism that they get paid without working.

"It is unfortunate. The house should function," he said, adding that disruptions take away the opportunity to ask questions about constituency-related problems.

BJP MP from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur, said he has been meeting workers of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) after adjournment of the house in the afternoon.

"I also try to resolve pending issues concerning my constituency," he said.

Communist Party of India Rajya Sabha MP D. Raja said he devotes time to reading and attending social events after the house is adjourned.

"I attend to party work. I do a lot of reading... I continue to do the same." he said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP from Vaishali, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, said he devotes time to reading and meeting visitors at his residence.

Singh said the government should find a way to end the logjam as the scenario of prolonged stalemate goes to the advantage of the opposition.

He said it is the government's legislative agenda that gets held up due to disruptions.

PRS Legislative Research, a research initiative which tracks functioning of parliament, said that much of what the government listed at the beginning of the winter session remains to be accomplished.

"At the beginning of the winter session, the government had listed 23 new bills for introduction and 31 bills were pending for consideration and passing.

"With four days remaining before the session ends, only 14 of the planned bills have been introduced and six have been passed. A significant proportion of the legislative agenda remains unachieved," said Devika Malik of PRS Legislative Research.

(Prashant Sood can be contacted at 





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