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Congress seeks restoration of Question Hour in Parliament, will write to Speaker

Ahead of the Parliament session, which begins on September 14, another meeting is expected to finalise the issues to be raised by the party.

IANS | New Delhi |

The newly constituted parliamentary strategy group of the Congress has decided to raise the issue of dropping the Question Hour with the presiding officers of both the Houses. Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Floor leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry will write to the Speaker, said party sources.

The leaders met on Thursday virtually and deliberated on the issues to be raised by the Congress in the upcoming session, while the five-member committee constituted by Sonia Gandhi has given its recommendation on ordinance, said sources.

Ahead of the Parliament session, which begins on September 14, another meeting is expected to finalise the issues to be raised by the party.

The meeting gained significance after the letter bomb and the stormy Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet, where the loyalists and dissenters came face to face. However, sources said only issues related to the Parliament session were discussed, and Azad, who was the prime mover of the letter presided over the meeting.

Randeep Surjewala, party chief spokesperson, said: “The central idea is to hold the government accountable, to expose its lies, to ensure that public welfare steps are taken and to fix accountability of the government to Parliament of India and through it to 130 crore people of India. By abolishing the Question Hour, this government is running scared of answering the relevant questions to the people of India through their elected representatives.”

The Congress has alleged that the Modi government ‘does not want to answer on the brazen transgressions by China in the Indian Territory. It does not want to answer about the plunder of the Indian economy and the free fall of GDP. The Centre also does not want to answer as to why, for the first time in 73 years, GDP has fallen by minus 24 per cent.

Sources in the government called it a “masterclass in hypocrisy”, while taking a dig at the opposition.

“The uproar over the Question Hour suspension is nothing but a masterclass in hypocrisy by members of the opposition. It is amusing to see opposition MPs who don’t have the power to question even their party president create a fake narrative on this issue,” said the government source.

The idea of dropping the Question Hour in the mini Parliament session has the opposition up in arms. They are accusing the Centre of stifling its voice.

Both the Houses of Parliament will be meeting for the first time since the nationwide lockdown in March.

Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said, “The government has spoken in advance to all the opposition parties for not holding Question Hour and everyone, except West Bengal MP Derek O’Brien, has agreed to the arrangement.