Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla after the House was adjourned sine die. PM Modi and Sonia shared smiles and space after 17 days of the Opposition's vociferous protest over the Pegasus issue that didn't allow the House to transact business.
The meeting took place at the Speaker’s chamber in the Parliament. It was also attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress's Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and leaders of the Trinamool Congress, Akali Dal, YSR Congress and BJD. Birla later tweeted a clip of the meeting.
The meeting was seen as an effort by the Speaker to build consensus on ways to ensure that rules are strictly followed. He is believed to have urged all parties to cooperate with the functioning of the House in future. Both the government and the Opposition have been blaming each other for the deadlock.
Birla had earlier expressed anguish over the disruptions in Lok Sabha proceedings during the Monsoon session. The Speaker said that he was "extremely hurt" and voiced hope that parties will, through consensus, ensure that members follow the rules strictly and maintain the dignity of the House.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before schedule, after Opposition protests over the Pegasus snooping row, farm laws and other issues continuously marred the proceedings since the start of the session on July 19.
According to Birla, out of the total 96 hours, the House functioned for only 21 hours and its productivity reduced to 22 per cent due to the ruckus. He disapproved of the members coming into the Well and shouting slogans, saying presiding officers have maintained that such conduct was unacceptable.
"I am pained with continuous disruptions of the House. I don't have words to express my anguish over the ruckus in the House. I am extremely hurt," Birla told reporters soon after he adjourned the House.