Fact Check: Was the Winter Session of Parliament postponed during UPA rule?

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While Sonia Gandhi accused the government of postponing the parliament session for a state election, Arun Jaitley hit back saying the Congress did the same in 2011. Is it true that the parliament session was postponed in 2011? Here is a Fact Check.

The Congress President Sonia Gandhi criticized the government for not holding the winter session of parliament when it should be held because of the Gujarat elections, during her address to the Congress Working Committee (CWC). The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit back at the Congress saying that postponement of parliament sessions for an election was also done by the Congress earlier and he referred to the year 2011 when such postponement happened.

When is the Winter Session usually held?

The winter session of parliament is usually held in the months of November & December each year. The only exception to this were the years 2003, 2004, 2008 & 2013 when the session began in December as indicated in the table below.

Government of the DayYearDates of the Winter SessionNumber of Days the Parliament was in session
NDA199930th November to 23rd December15
200020th November to 22nd December25
200119th November to 21st December21
200218th November to 20th December23
200302nd December to 23rd December & January/February 200420
UPA200401st December to 23rd December17
200523rd November to 23rd December23
200622nd November to 19th December20
200715th November to 07th December17
200817th October to 23rd December16
200919th November to 22nd December24
201009th November to 13th December24
201122nd November to 29th December24
201222nd November to 20th December19
201305th December to 18th December & February 201424
NDA201424th November to 23rd December22
201526th November to 23rd December20
201616th November to 16th December21

 

What happened in the year 2011?

In the year 2011 that was referred to by Arun Jaitley, the winter session began on 22nd November. The only set of elections held in 2011 were general elections to the assembly in the states of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal. The elections in all these states were held in the months of April & May of 2011. The second part of the Budget session is usually held during this period. It is true that the the budget session in 2011 was cut short and was restricted to 23 sittings (because of these elections), about 10-12 sittings less than the average number of sittings in the budget session during other years.

Claim Check: Arun Jaitley’s statement that Congress postponed the session in 2011 is FALSE since no elections took place in 2011 during November/December and the winter session was held during the usual time. However, he is RIGHT that the Congress did cut short the budget session in 2011 though they did not postpone it.

Was a Parliament session never postponed for elections?

While it is difficult to say if parliament sessions were postponed because of an election, the winter session of parliament in the years 2003, 2008 & 2013 did not begin in November.

YearElections in States ofElections were held inWinter Session dates
2003Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi & MizoramNovember/December (last polling date 01st December)02nd December to 23rd December
2008Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi & MizoramNovember/December (last polling date 04th December)17th October to 24th October & 10th December to 23rd December
2013Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi & MizoramNovember/December (last polling date 04th December)05th December to 18th December

 

In each of these years, general elections were held in the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi & Mizoram. And strangely enough, the winter session began only after the last day of polling in each of these years. In the year 2008, the winter session started early in October, but there was a break between 24th October and 09th December probably because of the elections.

The NDA was in power in 2003 while it was the UPA  that was ruling in both 2008 & 2013. It does seem that both the parties are guilty of postponing a parliament session for state elections.

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