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Monsoon Session 2018 ends: Key moments from Parliament as both Houses adjourn sine die

The Monsoon Session 2018 was filled with interesting discussions and iconic moments. Despite the anticipation of a stormy session because of Opposition's pitch for no-confidence motion, both Houses of Parliament managed to have 17 sittings spread across 24 days.

As the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die on Friday, here's a look at all the noteworthy moments from inside the two Houses.

1. Debate on no-confidence motion

The debate during the no-confidence motion itself hosted many iconic moments from this Monsoon Session. Ofcourse, the Rahul-hugging-Modi scene, and the Congress president's wink that followed, are at the top of the list, but there were other moments, too, that deserve a mention.

During his speech, Rahul accused the prime minister of ignoring the farmers and alleged that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had lied about the Rafale deal under pressure from Modi. While making these allegations, Rahul looked at Modi and said that, "Pradhan mantri meri aankhon se aankhen milaakar nahi dekh paa rahe hain (The prime minister cannot look me in the eye as I speak). He is smiling but he is nervous," Rahul said. Reacting to this, Modi widened his eyes in a bid to dismiss Rahul's claim.

Rahul had also claimed that SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal was smiling as he made allegations against Modi. When Kaur took offense to him hugging Modi, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan questioned her objection, and said, "What are you talking about? You were smiling (during Rahul's speech)."

Badal also asked Rahul what he “had” before coming to the House.

2. Piyush Goyal: The burdened minister?

While participating in a debate on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill on 31 July, TMC leader Saugata Roy sought to know in the Lok Sabha whether Piyush Goyal is the caretaker finance minister or the full-time finance minister. Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai said that Goyal had already asserted in the House that Arun Jaitley is the finance minister.

Roy, however, pointed out that the amendment bill mentioned Goyal's name as the finance minister. "At the back of the bill it is written, 'Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Finance, Corporate, Coal.' Why are you (Thambidurai) speaking on his behalf? I want to hear it from him."

On 7 August, when the Lower House was discussing The Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2018-19 and demands for excess grants for 2015-16, Roy again took a dig Goyal, saying he is the most burdened minister in the history of independent India.

Goyal was given the additional charge of the finance ministry on 14 May when Arun Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant operation. Jaitley is expected to return to office by the end of August.

3. Manmohan Singh speaks for SCS for Andhra Pradesh

On 24 July, the Centre ruled out giving special category status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh and said the bifurcated state had got a better deal.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was replying to a nearly four-hour debate in the Rajya Sabha on special category status to the residual state of Andhra Pradesh during which former prime minister Manmohan Singh took a veiled dig at his successor Narendra Modi.

Manmohan Singh said the assurance to Andhra Pradesh was made by him on behalf of parliament and he expected it to be fulfilled by the government.

Manmohan Singh said he had made a "solemn commitment" on the floor of the Rajya Sabha as prime minister for special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

He said the commitment to Andhra Pradesh had been discussed with then leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and other senior BJP leaders.

"(The) government is a continuing entity. Commitments made on the floor of the House have to be honoured and fulfilled. They are in nature of assurance on behalf of Parliament. I had expected my distinguished successor to fulfil the commitments I had made after consultations with his own colleagues."

Intervening in the debate, Goyal said the Andhra Re-organisation Act was being respected. "The government remains committed to ensure the welfare of state of Andhra Pradesh and people of Andhra Pradesh."

Rajnath Singh said the BJP-led central government had fulfilled "around 90 percent" of the commitments made under the Andhra Act and was "committed" to fulfil the rest "at any cost".

"Our government will fulfil all the commitments made not only by our prime minister but also those made by former prime minister Manmohan Singh."

4. Amit Shah's accuses Opposition of trying to protect Bangladeshi immigrants

BJP president Amit Shah's remarks accusing the Opposition of allegedly trying to protect the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants caused disruption in the Rajya Sabha and subsequent adjournment of the House for the day on 31 July, as the Opposition expressed concern over the Assam NRC draft that leaves out over 40 lakh people.

"The Assam Accord was signed by your (Congress) prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on 14 August, 1985. And he announced it from the Red Fort in his speech the next day. The spirit of the Accord was the NRC that would help identify the Bangladeshi infiltrators," Shah said.

"You did not have the courage to implement it. We had the courage and we are doing it. Everybody here (in the Opposition) is concerned with the 40 lakh people. How many Bangladeshi infiltrators are there among these 40 lakh? Who do you want to protect? You want to protect the Bangladeshi infiltrators?" Shah said.

Pandemonium followed Shah's statement with Chairman Venkaiah Naidu having to shout to make himself heard.

5. First-term woman Rajya Sabha member presides over Question Hour

A record of sorts was created in the Rajya Sabha when first-term woman member Kahkashan Perween presided over the Question Hour on 2 August.

This was for the first time that a first-term woman member had presided over the House proceedings during the Question Hour, at least in a decade.

Naidu, after the Zero Hour, announced that Perween would preside over the proceedings of the House during the Question Hour.

Soon after she assumed the chair at the beginning of the Question Hour, members greeted her with the thumping of desks.

Parween is the only woman member currently on the panel of vice-chairpersons of the Rajya Sabha. Naidu later complimented her for doing the job with confidence.

Kahkashan Perween created a new record when she presided over the Question Hour. PTI

Kahkashan Perween created a new record when she presided over the Question Hour. PTI

6. Spying in Lok Sabha?

On the fourth day of Monsoon Session, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused an officer of spying in Lok Sabha. Addressing the Speaker, Kharge said, "It is surveillance. Who is he? Why is he taking notes? He is counting the number of MPs," Kharge said amidst vociferous protests by his party MPs.Kharge also claimed that as they were raising the issue, the officer concerned is seen leaving the House.

The Speaker assured the agitated members and said she could not see the Officers' Gallery from her seat but she will look into the matter.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said the concerned officer belonged to his ministry and was doing his duty.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Lok Sabha proceedings were telecast live and everyone can see what is happening in the House.

"People even now can see who is winking in the House," he said in an apparent dig at Rahul.

7. NDA nominee Harivansh becomes Rajya Sabha deputy chairman

Ruling NDA candidate and JD(U) member Harivansh was elected as the deputy chairman on Thursday, securing 125 votes as against 105 polled by Opposition candidate BK Hariprasad. Only 230 out of the total 244 members were present during the voting.

Following his election, Harivansh was conducted to his seat, which is beside the Leader of Opposition, by Leader of the House Arun Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Modi congratulated Harivansh on his victory and called him as a "well read" person who "has written a lot".

On his part, Harivansh assured the members that he will conduct the proceedings of the House in a non-partisan manner. "Now I do not belong to any party," he said, seeking cooperation of the members in the smooth conduct of the House.

He said that it was a matter of pride for him to reach the corridors of power and pledged to work for the country's development.

After Harivansh's speech, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu invited him to conduct the House proceedings.

Harivansh presided over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha. PTI

Harivansh presided over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha. PTI

8. Piyush Goyal throws poll challenge to Mallikarjun Kharge
On 9 August, the Lok Sabha witnessed a heated exchange between Goyal and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, with the minister challenging Kharge to fight an election against him from Mumbai.

Goyal, who was speaking on the four GST bills taken up by the House for passage, targeted Congress and said it will be reduced to a single digit in the next Lok Sabha elections. Kharge hit back saying the minister had not even won an election.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar sought an aplogy from Kharge over his remarks.

Congress members were near the Speaker's podium and raising slogans in favour of their demand for a joint parliamentary committee to probe the Rafale fighter jet deal during Goyal's speech.

As members of treasury benches protested, Kumar said the Kharge was a senior member but was ignorant of rules of procedure.

"Piyush Goyal ji is elected to the other House. He has been elected by the States. He knows that, in the constitutional scheme made by Babasaheb Ambedkar, anybody can be elected to either of the two Houses of Parliament. Therefore, if this basic knowledge is not with Kharge ji, then, he should apologize to the entire House. He should apologize to Piyush Goyal ji," Kumar said.

The minister said senior former prime minister Manmohan Singh was also a Rajya Sabha member. "They should remember Manmohan Singh, who is six-time MP from Assam, is still in the other House. We respect him for he became the prime minister of this country twice. The same question which Mallikarjun Kharge ji is asking our friend Piyush Goyal should be posed to Manmohan Singh also," he said.

9. Parliamentarians favour adjournment for Karunanidhi

Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day on 8 August after paying obituary to DMK chief M Karunanidhi who passed away the day before.

As soon as the Lok Sabha met for the day, the Speaker informed members of the demise of Karunanidhi.

After observing a moment of silence in his memory, Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the day.

In Rajya Sabha, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, reading out an obituary reference, described Karunanidhi as a multifaceted personality and a gritty figure who overcame difficulties.

Members stood in silence as a mark of respect to the departed soul. Naidu then adjourned the proceedings for the day.

National Flag flies half-mast to honour M Karunanidhi. PTI

National Flag flies half-mast to honour M Karunanidhi. PTI

Prior to the commencement of proceedings of the day, Naidu consulted senior leaders of various political parties for their views on adjournment of proceedings of the House for the day.

He sought to know views of leaders as there was no precedent of adjourning the House in case the departed leader was not a sitting or former member of the House, sources told PTI. Referring to Karunanidhi as one of the tallest leaders of the country, all members spoke in favour of adjournment of proceedings of the House as a mark of respect to the departed leader, they said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anant Kumar said the government was also in favour of adjournment and the same was conveyed to the Lok Sabha Speaker as well.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 22:41 PM

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