Karela Fry

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A non-functioning legislature

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The winter session of the parliament began today. TOI reported that Mamata Banerjee continues to tilt at windmills:

An attempt by former UPA ally Trinamool Congress to bring a no-confidence motion against the government over FDI in retail failed today in the Lok Sabha for want of requisite numbers.

The motion, first in the current Lok Sabha, was moved by Trinamool Congress parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay and was supported by BJD.

However, it lacked the support of the required 50 members as only TMC’s 18 members and BJD’s three members supported.

On seeing the lack of adequate support, the Speaker said, “The motion does not have the leave of the House.”

DNA reported an unproductive day in the Rajya Sabha:

Rajya Sabha could not function on the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament with issues like FDI and reservation to SCs/STs in promotions triggering uproar that led to its adjournment for the day.

Trinamool Congress and AIADMK raised the issue of FDI in retail when the House met at noon after the first adjournment, while BSP members rushed to the well raising slogans and created uproar over the issue of reservation to SCs/STs in promotions.

With appeals by Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien going unheeded, BSP members kept raising slogans forcing him to adjourn the House for the day.

Earlier, when the House met for the day, it witnessed turmoil soon after it mourned the death of Bal Thackeray and former members including former Defence Minister KC Pant and the loss of life in cyclones in the US and Tamil Nadu and during Chhat Puja in Patna.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh introduced the ministers elevated or inducted in the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Chairman Hamid Ansari tried to restore order but as members were unrelenting he adjourned the House till noon.

IBN Live reported an equally fruitless day in the Lok Sabha:

The war over FDI in retail reached Parliament giving a stormy start to the Winter Session on Thursday. The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day, after being adjourned thrice in the day, following a ruckus over FDI. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left Front are demanding a debate and vote on FDI.

But there were signs of a divide in the Opposition. BJP ally JD(U) said it wants a debate, but didn’t insist on a vote. The SP and BSP, who provide outside support to the UPA, were also not insisting on a vote. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Sharad Yadav is an important part of NDA. I won’t comment on what he has said. I would only reiterate what the NDA resolved, that we demand discussion under Rule 184.”

Meanwhile, Livemint makes an interesting point:

[Opposition parties] want the government to heed the “sense of the House”. In other words, if Parliament collectively disapproves of any executive measure, the government should not proceed with it. This is a positively dangerous development. This argument was first made during the debate on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. It is now being repeated in the case of FDI in retail.

Apart from the fact it betrays a lack of understanding of separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary and the legislature this is a step in the direction of institutionalizing policy paralysis. Today, it is the UPA government that is being cramped on this count; in the years ahead, it could be a different government. That way, the ability of governments to execute policies they have a mandate for will be constricted, to the country’s detriment.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

November 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

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