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During the final day of the Winter Session, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas spoke with The Indian Express about his expectations for the session and its overall productivity.

Q: How productive was the Winter Session?
A: From my perspective, it was not productive at all. The Opposition was not allowed to address certain important issues, such as the border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies. The government avoided discussing the incident and was very secretive about it.

Q: The number of functional hours seems to have been more in this session.
A: Productivity should not be measured solely by the number of hours. Simply pushing Bills through and disregarding the Opposition does not make a Parliament session productive.

Q: What were your expectations from the session?
A: The government seemed to have a lack of substantive business during this session. The Bills introduced were not satisfactory, and the discussions were inadequate. Additionally, the session was delayed due to the Assembly elections in Gujarat, which is not acceptable and affects the session’s duration.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh accused the government of curtailing the session due to the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi retaliated by saying that Ramesh and others did not attend the session. What are your thoughts?
The political party’s program is an internal matter. The focus should be on the Prime Minister’s continued absence from Parliament, rather than individual members’ absence in either House.

There were 82 starred questions and over 1,900 unstarred questions that received responses from various ministries. Has this been adequate?
As parliamentarians, we raised many questions but did not receive satisfactory answers. Ministries often lacked data and evaded providing clear responses to our inquiries. Sometimes, we received conflicting replies on the same issue.

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