NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his displeasure at lack of minimum attendance in the Rajya Sabha stalling work and told the ruling party lawmakers that it was their responsibility, and not the opposition's to get government business passed.
PM Modi - who has underlined the importance for party legislators to ensure their presence in parliament through the day on several occasions - told lawmakers that he would not tolerate their absence again.
The immediate provocation for PM Modi ticking off the BJP lawmakers was Rajya Sabha's inability to take up discussion on a bill on maritime law on Friday evening. And this, after the government had persuaded the opposition earlier in the day, to discuss legislations for an hour after 5 pm.
But when the bill was taken up, the Congress pointed to the lack of quorum - or minimum attendance for the House to take any up business. When there aren't enough members in the house - 10 per cent of the strength of the House in the minimum - a quorum bell sounds an alert for three-and-a-half minutes and proceedings are halted until more lawmakers arrive. If they don't, the proceedings have to be adjourned.
When the government wondered where the opposition members had suddenly disappeared, the Congress' Jairam Ramesh shot back: "It is not our responsibility to maintain quorum, but yours".
It is a point that was echoed at the BJP's weekly meeting of lawmakers from the two Houses of parliament when PM Modi spoke.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and his junior Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had referred to recent instances in the Rajya Sabha where the government had to face embarrassment due to lack of quorum. PM Modi is learnt to have said that he was "worried and not satisfied" with the members' percentage of presence in houses".
- Input: IANS