New Delhi: Government was on Wednesday forced to tender an apology in Lok Sabha as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and his junior Manoj Sinha were absent when the House took up a question relating to their Ministry and the Speaker issuing a stricture that such instances should not recur.
The incident happened during Question Hour when Speaker Sumitra Mahajan took up the issue of ‘Go-India Smart Card’, an initiative of the Railway Ministry, for discussion.
As neither Prabhu, nor Sinha were present in the House, Congress members led by Mallikarjun Kharge strongly protested and wanted to know why the Ministers were absent when the question relating to their Ministry was listed for business in the House.
The Speaker initially said the Minister (Sinha) should be called as this was not fair and he should not leave the House when there is a question listed against his name.
As Congress members continued to protest, Mahajan said that she had limited options. “What should I do? Should I hang him? I said it should not have happened,” she said. Kharge said this was not for the first time that a Minister was absent when matters related to their Ministries were taken up.
“You were here day before yesterday. When there is a discussion, Cabinet Minister should be present. That day also the Minister was not present, but we kept mum. Because they requested that such things will not happen again.
“To run the House, the Ministers do not come but you keep telling us that we should follow the rules. But they do not go by the rules. There is a question but the Cabinet Minister is not present, the MoS is also not present. Its repercussion, reflection will be on you (Speaker) and us (opposition) but not on them (treasury),” Kharge said.