New Delhi: Parliament lost over 106 hours during the month-long Winter session which was marred by turmoil over issues like foreign direct investment and quota in promotions, but managed to pass some key legislations including banking reforms bill. Much of the time of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha was wasted because of uproar over FDI in multi-brand retail, over which government finally emerged victorious in voting after marathon debate with the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.
BSP had apparently extended support as a quid pro quo for passage of a bill for providing quota to SCs/STs in government job promotions, but it could not fructify as the proposed legislation was cleared by only Rajya Sabha and blocked in the Lok Sabha by the SP and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The effort to get the quota bill passed in the Lok Sabha saw yet another low in parliamentary democracy as an SP member snatched the bill from the minister and tore it.
Altogether Lok Sabha lost 59 hours, while 47 hours were wasted in the Upper House because of disruptions over various issues. Rajya Sabha also had its share of high drama when BSP supremo Mayawati attacked Chairman Hamid Ansari stunning the House. However, the next day she expressed full faith and respect for the Chair.
In the Rajya Sabha, Question Hour could be conducted only on 8 days due to continued disruptions which even prompted an agitated Ansari to suggest that it should be either scrapped for shifted to some other part of the day. Only 43 starred questions could be answered orally of the listed 400 questions.
In the Lok Sabha, 400 starred questions were listed, out of which only 49 could be answered orally. "This on an average about 2.45 questions could be answered per day, which you will agree is extremely low," speaker Meira Kumar said as the session, which began on November 22, came to an end.