Opposition protests removal of Question Hour as Monsoon session begins

New Delhi: The Monsoon Session of the Lok Sabha began on Monday amid strict health and safety measures in view of the raging Covid 19 pandemic in the country with several opposition members sharply objecting and protesting against the BJP-led NDA government move over the removal of the Question Hour.
Members from Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) said that a number of important issues like unemployment, NEET exams and national security should have been discussed even as the House gave its nod to the new arrangements with voice vote.
Defence Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajnath Singh appealed to all members in the Lok Sabha to ensure that the proceedings went smoothly.
Singh said the proceedings are being held under extraordinary circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.“I appeal to all members of the House to co-operate as Session is being held in an extraordinary situation,’’ he said.
MPs, including the Congress leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Choudhury voiced their concern over the removal of Question Hour and curtailing the Zero Hour to 30 minutes.
Choudhury said, “Question Hour is the golden hour but you say that it cannot be held due to the circumstances. You conduct the proceedings but single out Question Hour. You are trying to strangulate democracy.”
NCP MP Supriya Sule said that India is not the only country facing the pandemic and discussions on important issues cannot be set aside. She said, “This is a global scenario and we are not the only country going through it. But it should be the priority of government. I don’t see this government at the Centre talking extensively either about the economy or unemployment challenges. We should put it on priority.”
The Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha proceedings will be held in two shifts turn wise amid unprecedented precautions against the pandemic, including social distancing and sanitization drive of Parliament House complex, testing of MPs and officials on a war footing.
In his traditional remarks before the session began, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave a strong message on the continuing border stand-off with China. “We hope parliament and all members will unitedly send the message that the nation stands with our soldiers,” the Prime Minister said.
In the Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said: “It’s an extraordinary situation. When assemblies aren’t ready to meet for a single day, we, with around 800-850 MPs, are meeting here. There are so many ways to question the government, government isn’t running away from discussion,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh suggested Zero Hour can be used to question the government.