Parliament session begins tomorrow: Opposition prepares to corner govt, PM Modi invites ‘healthy discussion’

The monsoon session will conclude on August 13. Here is what the Opposition is planning, and the Bills likely to be taken up.

Ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, set to commence on Monday, several Opposition parties held a meeting in which they decided to move adjournment notices in both Houses over farmers’ issues. Opposition parties will seek to corner the government on a range of issues, including the Covid pandemic situation, delay in vaccination programme and price rise.

Several Opposition parties will move adjournment notices in both Houses of Parliament on Monday over farmers’ problems, RSP leader N K Premachandran was quoted as saying by PTI.

Opposition parties have held a separate meeting after an all-party meet convened by the government on Sunday, a day ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. The opposition meeting was attended by leaders of the Congress, TMC, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, IUML, RSP, Shiv Sena and the AAP.

“The farmers’ protest against the three agri laws and the rising prices of petrol and diesel are the most important issues right now, and these will be raised by the opposition during the session,” Premachandran was quoted as saying by PTI.

Shiromani Akali Dal, a former ally of the BJP, has roped in a number of parties like NCP, DMK, TMC, BSP and Shiv Sena to demand for the repeal of the contentious farm laws.

“The Shiromani Akali Dal will be seeking repeal of the farm laws in both the houses of Parliament. We have already got Shiv Sena, NCP, DMK, TMC and BSP on board to back the move. We are reaching out to the Left parties and other regional parties tomorrow,” SAD MP Naresh Gujral had told The Indian Express.

“In the Lok Sabha, it will be in the form of an adjournment motion and in the Rajya Sabha we will find appropriate rules to censure the government for passing the black laws,” he said.

Moreover, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmers’ unions, has planned a protest comprising 200 farmers outside the Parliament every day. Several members of the Morcha, including Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, and Yogendra Yadav, issued a “voters’ whip” to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members on Saturday, asking them to raise farmers’ demands and stage a walkout during the Monsoon Session.

Both Houses of Parliament are set to meet from July 19 and the session will conclude on August 13.

The Monsoon Session is set to begin at a time when the Opposition, buoyed by the recent Assembly elections results, has already launched multiple efforts to get non-NDA parties together to raise issues like the “mishandling of the pandemic situation” and “unprecedented fuel price increase”.

There have also been reports of fresh efforts to cobble up a Third Front against the BJP and the Congress at the national level.

After the Trinamool Congress’ splendid return to power in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had given a call for a federal front. This was followed by NCP leader and veteran Sharad Pawar calling a meeting of regional parties using a cross-party platform Rashtra Manch last month. The meeting, held at Pawar’s residence in the national capital, was attended by eight parties, including TMC, AAP, SP and Left parties.

The government has listed 17 new bills for introduction in the session. Three of the bills seek to replace ordinances issued recently. Once a session starts, an ordinance has to be passed as a bill within 42 days or six weeks, else it lapses.

One of the ordinances issued on June 30 prohibits any agitation and strike by anyone engaged in the essential defence services.

The Essential Defence Services Ordinance 2021 came in the backdrop of the announcement by major federations of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to go on an indefinite strike from the later part of July to protest the government’s decision to corporatise the OFB. The Essential Defence Service Bill, 2021 has been listed to replace the ordinance, according to a Lok Sabha bulletin issued on July 12.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 is another measure that seeks to replace an ordinance. According to the government, the ordinance was brought to provide a permanent solution and establish a self-regulated, democratically monitored mechanism for tackling air pollution in the NCR and adjoining areas, rather than limited ad-hoc measures.

Continuing with the outreach to the Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday told an all-party meeting that the government was ready for a “healthy and meaningful discussion” in Parliament on various issues. The all-party meeting was attended by 33 parties, where the PM said suggestions from public representatives, especially from the Opposition, are valuable as they make discussions rich.

Besides Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Parlhad Joshi were present at the meeting.

Among the others who attended are Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, floor leaders of all prominent opposition parties, including Derek O’ Brien from the TMC, Tiruchi Siva from the DMK, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP’s Satish Mishra, Apna Dal leader and NDA ally Anupriya Patel and LJP leader Pashupati Paras.

On Sunday, Modi also chaired a meeting of NDA floor leaders, which was attended by Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda. Leaders of several NDA constituent parties were also in attendance.

On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met former defence ministers Sharad Pawar and A K Antony to brief them on the India-China border situation. Piyush Goyal, the newly appointed leader of Rajya Sabha, met Pawar and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Parties demand restoration of MPLAD funds; LS speaker says he will raise issue with govt

Various parties, including the Congress and the TMC, on Sunday demanded restoration of MPLAD funds, in the all-party meeting chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, sources said, PTI reported. He assured them that he will raise the issue with the government and its top functionaries, they said.

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, TMC leader Sudeep Bandopadhyay, YSR Congress leader Midhun Reddy were among those who raised the issue of MPLAD funds during the meeting in the presence of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, the sources said.

Birla also told members that they will be given adequate opportunity for discussion on issues of public interest and appealed to them to cooperate with the Chair in the smooth conduct of the House.

In the meeting, Speaker Birla lauded the leaders for their support during the last five sessions, an official statement said. He also appealed to them to continue their cooperation during the Monsoon Session too, it said.

Leaders of political parties assured the speaker that they will extend all cooperation in smooth functioning of the House. Later, talking to reporters, Birla said he has requested leaders of parties in Lok Sabha to respect the sanctity and dignity of the House and sought their cooperation for the smooth conduct of the proceedings of the House.

(With inputs from PTI)

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