Those who met Om Birla included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi. Leaders of some other opposition parties such as Trinamool Congress (TMC), Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) also met the speaker.
All these leaders reached around the same time and it was a rare photo opportunity as they were seen sitting together.
While Birla and Modi sat on one sofa, on the other sofa to their left were Chowdhury and Sonia Gandhi. Amit Shah was sitting to Birla’s right. Next to the home minister was Joshi followed by the TMC leaders.
Gourav Gogoi, MP from Assam and son of former chief minister late Tarun Gogoi was also present during the get together.
It is hard to recall when these leaders had sat together the last time.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal (front row left) and Congress MP Gourav Gogoi in Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla’s chamber.
Badal-led SAD was BJP coalition partner at the centre and in Punjab. It was one of the oldest allies of the ruling party. However, it broke away from NDA in the wake of the three farm laws last year.
Meanwhile, Birla requested the leaders of all the parties to encourage discussion and communication in the House in the future.
He said the welfare of the people was possible only by discussion and debate in Parliament. “We can fulfil the needs of the people only through meaningful discussion.”
The Monsoon Session of Parliament commenced on July 19. The Lok Sabha was scheduled to function till August 13. However, it was adjourned sine die two days ahead of the scheduled date.
The session was marked by acrimonious scenes, disruptions and adjournments since it convened on July 19.
Speaker Om Birla expressed disappointment as the Lok Sabha functioned much below the expectations during the Monsoon Session.
He rued that acts like the slogan-shouting and waving of placards by the members in the Well of Lok Sabha were not in accordance with its traditions.
Birla informed that the Lok Sabha functioned for only 21 hours during the entire Monsoon Session and its productivity was at 22 per cent.
He said, “I tried my best to run the house smoothly and give equal opportunity to all members but the house productivity was very poor during this session unlike the previous sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha.”
He further said, “Several rounds of meetings took place and effort was made to reach a consensus but it could not happen on several issues. We should expect that the house will be allowed to run smoothly in future as people of the country have plenty of expectations from Parliament.”
The Lok Sabha Speaker said he would convene a meeting of all parties to review the existing parliamentary rules. “We need to review the existing rules and make them more stringent. Most of the presiding officers of the country do not approve of carrying placards, trooping in the well and shouting slogans,” he added.
MPs of some opposition parties – prominently Congress, TMC and SAD – were protesting against the Pegasus spyware issue, the three farm laws and price rise particularly of the petroleum products.
They demanded discussion on the Pegasus snooping controversy and inflation and repeal of the agri-marketing laws which have been protested by farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh since November 26.