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Opposition kicks up row over 'unilateral' extension of Lok Sabha session

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, May 8:The Congress and some other opposition parties on Friday attacked the government for “unilaterally” extending the Lok Sabha session till May 13 and imposing its decision on them, with their protest leading to two brief adjournments. The government said that the decision was taken after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on Thursday evening and it had tried to reach out to the opposition to inform them as soon as possible. Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha after question hour, Congress leader in the house Mallikarjun Kharge said that a meeting of the business advisory committee was held on Friday only after the government had taken the decision to extend the session which was to end May 8. Noting that the government should know its priorities and accordingly set dates, he said information about the extension came late on Thursday.

“You (the speaker) do not know. We do not know. The government announces (the dates) in the media,” Kharge said. “The decision to extend the sitting is unilateral. The house was not taken into confidence, opposition was not taken into confidence. This is dictatorship. Dictatorship will not work in democracy,” he said. Members from the Trimool Congress and the Left also said that the government had not consulted them before extending the session. They said they had prior commitments to meet. Biju Jata Dal (BJD) member Tathagata Satpathy meanwhile suggested that a special session should be convened in June to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar, “which will be a great tribute to the father of our constitution”. The demand was supported by Shiromani Akali Dal member Prem Singh Chandumajra, who also demanded that photographs of Ambedkar be made compulsory in every court of the country.

Responding to the concern of the members, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah idu said that no minister had briefed the media about the extension.

The media had its own way of finding out, he quipped. idu said that the decision on extension was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, held after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Thursday. He said he became occupied with business in the Rajya Sabha which went on till late in the evening but was abble to reach some opposition leaders afterwards, though some could only be informed on Friday morning. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she had already conveyed that the session had been extended till May 13. Earlier, the house witnessed two adjournments - till 11.30 a.m. and then till 12.00 noon - as she rejected Kharge’s demand for suspension of question hour on the issue leading to Congress members raising slogans against the government. (IANS)

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