At a time when topmost leaders of the ruling coalition have questioned its relevance and termed it obstructionist, the Rajya Sabha will mark its 250th session, in November-December, with a commemorative volume on the ‘Role of Rajya Sabha in Indian Parliamentary Democracy’.
While the Lok Sabha is dissolved either every five years or earlier to elect a new House, the Rajya Sabha is a continuous House. Its first session was held in May 1952, and its 250th session will be the winter session of Parliament, which is likely to be held in November-December.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has approved a plan to celebrate the 250th session of the House. He has tasked the Rajya Sabha secretariat to publish a commemorative volume on the Rajya Sabha’s role in India’s parliamentary democracy.
The commemorative volume would “cover various aspects such as Rajya Sabha’s role and contribution in bringing about social change and economic transformation, deepening the legislative scrutiny, strengthening federalism, debating issues of specific concerns to the States and other public issues, etc.”
The Rajya Sabha secretariat will request current members of the House to write articles for the commemorative volume. Naidu will decide on the final inclusion of articles in the volume.
It is interesting that the Rajya Sabha has planned to publish such a volume. Over the past five years, with the Narendra Modi government-lacking majority in the Rajya Sabha, there were several occasions when BJP leaders accused the opposition of stalling key bills and questioned the authority of the Rajya Sabha, a house where members are indirectly elected, in "obstructing" what the directly elected Lok Sabha, the House of the People, has passed.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies are likely to reach the majority mark by April next year. However, in his first speech in the Rajya Sabha on June 26 this year, after his government was re-elected, the PM had complained that the Upper House, led by the Congress, “stifled” the mandate from 2014 to 2019.
In his reply to the motion of thanks to the President’s address, Modi had said he knows that his coalition does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha. “But it does not mean that you disrespect the people's mandate which we have got in the Lok Sabha. The country has suffered a lot in the last five years. It pained me a lot,” he had said. The PM had then sought the chairman’s protection in helping the BJP fulfill the massive responsibility the people of the country have entrusted it in the Lok Sabha.