While there is a raging controversy over the suspension of Question Hour in the ensuing monsoon session of the parliament, the Shiv Sena, in a surprise move, has supported the government’s move, saying that it is an emergency situation. Many political parties have termed the government’s decision as a ‘masterclass in hypocrisy.’ However, Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut said the decision has been taken because of an emergency situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which everyone needs to understand.
Raut further said there are enough platforms available to question the government. “Even though the monsoon session of parliament will not have a Question Hour, it is important to understand why it is so. We need to understand it is an emergency situation and not criticise,’’ he noted.
Raut’s support to the government’s move comes close on the heels of the notification issued by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the suspension of Question Hour. Besides, private members’ bills will not be taken up and the zero hour will be restricted.
However, Shiv Sena’s ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to cancel the Question Hour in the forthcoming monsoon session of the parliament to ‘hide its failures’ on multiple fronts. NCP also called for using other electronic means to let parliamentarians question the central government. "BJP is using the pandemic as an excuse to cancel the Question Hour in the monsoon session of the parliament to hide its failures on multiple fronts," NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase alleged. "The BJP should use other electronic media to enable MPs to question the government," he added.
Another NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto took a dig at the NDA constituent through his cartoon. In the cartoon, a man with the BJP's poll symbol 'lotus' in place of his head can be seen running away from a question mark. "No Question Hour in parliament. You can run. You can't hide," reads the caption of the cartoon.
In a related development, the ruling and opposition parties in Maharashtra have agreed for the suspension of Question Hour during the two day session of the state legislature beginning on September 7 in Mumbai. Apart from laying of bills and supplementary demands, the proceedings will include a discussion on the supplementary demands and on the point of propriety.
Maharashtra Legislature Secretary Rajendra Bhagwat said the decision was taken at the Business Advisory Committee meetings of the state assembly and council held on August 25 on the suspension of Question Hour during the two day monsoon session. However, he said the discussion on supplementary demands after its tabling by the state government will be taken up.
Meanwhile, Raut on the tension at the borders said that Army Chief MM Naravane rushing off to Ladakh shows that China-India stand-off was serious. “Even External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had tweeted that the situation was worse than 1962,’’ he added.