As the monsoon session of Parliament began on Monday, a total of 23 MPs tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19. The monsoon session is scheduled from September 14 to October 1.
Six Rajya Sabha MPs have tested coronavirus positive including two MPs each from the BJP and Congress and one each from RJD and TMC, according to sources.
At least 17 Lok Sabha MPs tested positive for COVID-19 including Meenakshi Lekhi, Anant Kumar Hegde and Parvesh Sahib Singh, added the sources. Other MPs who have been found COVID-19 positive are Sukhbir Singh, Hanuman Beniwal, Sukanata Majumdar, Goddeti Madhavi, Pratap Rao Jadav, Janardan Singh, Bidyut Baran, Pradan Baruah, N Reddeppa, Selvam G, Pratap Rao Patil, Ram Shankar Katheria, Satya Pal Singh and Rodmal Nagar. The BJP has a maximum number–12, the YRS Congress has two MPs, the Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP one each.
Hectic preparations were underway for the Monsoon Session with several first-time measures taken because of the coronavirus pandemic. These new measures include testing of MPs, staggered seating arrangements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and the use of both chambers and galleries to accommodate the members.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had said that 257 members will be seated in the Lok Sabha hall, 172 in Lok Sabha gallery, 60 in Rajya Sabha and 51 in the Rajya Sabha gallery due to the COVID-19 crisis. He had said attempts were made to mimise the use of paper and MPs will mark their attendance digitally. Screen LEDs will be put up to conduct the proceedings smoothly.
Chambers will be sanitised and the MPS will have to undergo the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 before the session begins, the Lok Sabha Speaker had said.
Amid the Opposition’s demand for the election of the Deputy Speaker, the Lok Sabha Speaker had said the house and the government have to take a call on it. Birla had said holding the monsoon session this year was a challenge because of the COVID-19 pandemic but it will be “historic”.
“Holding the monsoon session was a challenge during the pandemic but we have to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities. We want Parliament to become more accountable and answerable to people,” Birla had said at a press conference. “This session will be a historic session as it is being held in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our effort is to conduct the session as per the guidelines issued in the wake of the pandemic,” he had added.
Birla had said the Zero Hour will be of half-an-hour duration and there will no Question Hour but written questions could be asked and they will have to be answered. When asked about opposition leaders asking about the Deputy Speaker election, Birla had said he doesn’t have to elect, and it is for the house and the government to decide.
News Credit Zee News