Guwahati: More than 40 per cent of the legislators who had submitted queries for the Question Hour were found to be absent when their turn came in the Assembly on Friday, which also happened to be the concluding day of the Winter Session.

Of the 20 questions listed for the day, 16 were taken up during the 60-minute session with which the day’s proceedings commenced in the House.

Seven questions, however, had to be skipped as the MLAs who had posed the queries were not present in the Assembly.

Of the seven absentee MLAs, two each are from the ruling BJP, the opposition Congress and the AIUDF. One of them is a member of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

CPI (M) legislator Manoranjan Talukdar, when approached, said the day’s proceedings began 30 minutes ahead of the usual schedule, and communication gap could be one reason why the MLAs did not turn up during the Question Hour.

“The speaker had announced yesterday that the House will assemble at 9 am. There might have been some gap in communication but there was also lag on the part of the legislators. The Question Hour is very crucial as information on various pertinent issues are shared and discussed at that time,” he told PTI.

The House proceedings were rescheduled to enable Muslim legislators attend Friday prayers.

Talukdar further said that another reason why as many as 16 questions could be taken up during the day was that the hour passed off without any disruption.

On most days, less than eight questions are attended to on the floor of the House.

“When the questions pertain to departments that are not functioning properly, discussions are usually long. That way, not many questions can be taken up in a day,” Talukdar said.

Congress legislator Kamalakshya Dey Purkayastha held the sudden change in schedule responsible for the absence of the MLAs.

“There was some confusion among the MLAs. Hence, many did not reach on time.

“That said, as MLAs, we should be present in the House 30 minutes before the proceedings begin. There was some negligence on our part today,” Purkayastha added.

Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, who did not wish to say much on the matter, simply said it is duty of MLAs to attend all proceedings.

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