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Ansari unhappy as ministers go missing during Question Hour

PTI | New Delhi |

An unusual situation emerged in the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour on Monday when three union ministers to whom queries had been put were absent, prompting Chairman Hamid Ansari to express anguish and drawing taunts from the opposition.

A few minutes before the Question Hour was to end, Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan answered questions relating to the Water Resources ministry and Chairman M Hamid Ansari moved to the next question.

The questioner had sought to know from Ministry of Shipping whether the government was launching a Yamuna Water Taxi Project.

However, neither the member who had asked the question, nor the minister who was to answer it were present, provoking Ansari to remark that this was an "extraordinary situation".

As Ansari took up the next question relating to the Environment Ministry, there was again no one from the ruling side to answer it.

"This is the shape of the things to come," came a remark from the opposition benches as Congress leader Jairam Ramesh complained that there was not even a single Cabinet minister present in the House. Only ministers of state Nirmala Sitharaman, Ram Kirpal Yadav and Balyan were seen present.

Ansari then moved to the next question relating to the Ministry of Power, but this too could not be taken up as the concerned minister was not present to answer it.

"This is not a happy state of affairs," the Rajya Sabha chairman said expressing his annoyance. "This is an example of 'maximum ministers, minimum governance'," said an opposition member take a jibe at the government.

Yadav however tabled the answer to the next question and was ready to answer the supplementaries, but by this time the Question Hour had ended.