The government and the opposition appeared set for a showdown in Parliament’s Monsoon Session beginning today with the Congress pushing for a no-confidence motion while the BJP is likely to raise Rahul Gandhi’s reported statement that his party “is for Muslims” to corner it.
Worries remain if the impasse seen in the Budget session will carry over to this session with both the government and the opposition engaged in acrimonious exchanges in its run-up over a host of issues including religious polarisation, lynching incidents and banking scams.
Opposition leaders tuesday wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker that trends that emerged in the last session might prove lethal to the constitutional democracy if left unchecked.
The last Budget session was the least productive since the year 2000 after Parliament saw daily disruptions by parties on Cauvery issue, special status to Andhra Pradesh and PNB scam. The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress had blamed each other for the washout.
At an all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought cooperation of all political parties and asked them to ensure that it turns out to be a productive session.
The Monsoon session will begin today and end on August 10.
Addressing a meeting of leaders of various parties, the prime minister hoped that each one of them would raise issues of public importance in the larger interest of the country.
However, BJP sources asserted that they will not take lying down the opposition offensive and will thwart attempts to corner the Modi government over issues convenient to them.
The ruling party has been raising the pitch over Rahul Gandhi’s reported remarks, which have been denied by the Congress, that his party is for Muslims. It has accused the Congress of Muslim appeasement and practising divisive politics.
The Congress on its part has accused Modi of pursuing divisive agenda to win elections after his governance “failure”.
Closing ranks, leaders of opposition parties in the Lok Sabha, including the Congress, CPI(M), Samajwadi Party, NCP, IUML, CPI, RJD and some other parties, wrote to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, accusing the BJP of denigrating rules and the Constitution which “lowered” the dignity of Parliament and the Chair.
Mahajan had last week written to opposition parties expressing concern over the frequent disruptions in Parliament and asked them to introspect while ensuring that the dignity of Parliament was not undermined.
The opposition leaders asked Mahajan whether she had also written to the leader of the house, who is the prime minister, asking him to put a full stop on such “subversion” as witnessed in the Budget Session.
If the BJP would like to push the row over Gandhi’s remarks into the political centre stage, opposition parties, which are cozying up to take on the ruling NDA, were keen to target the government over its alleged failures on economic front, nationwide cases of lynching, political crisis in Kashmir and price rise.
Seeking to corner the Congress on the issue of women empowerment, the government tuesday urged it to provide women with a “new deal” of equality and adequate representation by joining hands to pass the bills on women’s reservation, instant triple talaq and nikah halala in Parliament.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, whose ministry deals with issues of reservation in legislatures and personal laws, was today responding to a letter by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring in the bill on granting 33 per cent quota to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
He wrote to Gandhi suggesting that the Congress and the BJP join hands to get the three bills, as well as the measure on providing constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes, passed in Parliament.
Telugu Desam Party, which quit the NDA in May, is also set to push a no-confidence motion against the government. It notice was not taken up in the last session as the House was not in order.
The government is keen to push politically significant legislations like triple talaq bill that criminalises instant divorce pronounced by Muslim men and also the OBC bill that seeks constitutional status for a commission meant for backward classes, a massive voting bloc being wooed by the saffron party.
Dalit issues are also likely to be raised in the session. Farm distress is also a key issue with the BJP set to cite the government’s move to raise MSP for several crops as a proof of its pro-farmers credentials. PTI