Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday called two meetings of floor leaders of different political parties in the Rajya Sabha to break the logjam in the House over issues raised by both ruling as well as Opposition parties.
In the meetings, he underlined that the House had a prime duty to run its proceedings in an orderly manner, which is the essence of democracy, and expectation of the people.
During the one and a half hour-long discussions, he stressed that the House was meant for debate and discussion in a collaborative manner, and not for confrontation and deadlock.
The first meeting was held at 11.30 am in which leaders of the ruling BJP, YSRCP, BJD and TDP were present. However, floor Leaders of many parties did not attend this meeting, while the Congress Party, the main Opposition party in the House, did not attend either of the two meetings.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted how could the logjam be broken when Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, called to speak in the House by the Chairman, was not allowed to speak by sloganeering BJP members.
The other Opposition parties which stayed away from the first meeting were Trinamul Congress, DMK, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), CPI (M), JD (U), AIADMK, NCP, Samajwadi Party (SP), Shiv Sena, CPI, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the AGP.
The Chief Whip of the Congress Party and the floor leader of the DMK party had called on the Chairman separately earlier and expressed their inability to attend the meeting. The Chairman indicated to these two leaders that this would not help the cause of democracy and his feelings be so conveyed to the parties’ senior leaders.
The Rajya Sabha Chairman made another appeal to the floor leaders who stayed away from the first meeting, to revisit their decision and attend the second meeting which was held later in the afternoon at 2.30 pm.
The second meeting was attended by the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh and many Opposition and other parties’ leaders including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar, TRS leader K Keshava Rao, DMK leader Tiruchi Siva, Trinamul Congress leader Shantanu Sen, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai, BJD leader Sasmit Patra, besides Mr G K Vasan (Tamil Maanila Congress) and Mr Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP).
This meeting was joined by Union Minister & Leader of House Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan and Chief Whip of BJP (Rajya Sabha) Laxmikant Bajpai also.
To engage in further consultation, the Chairman has scheduled another meeting at 10.00 am on 23 March, the day the House is scheduled to reconvene after holiday on Wednesday.