The monsoon session of Parliament beginning Tuesday is set to be stormy as Congress and several other Opposition parties appeared to be closing ranks to corner the government on a range of issues including Vyapam scam and Lalit Modi controversy.
Besides pressing for removal of Union ministers Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani, Opposition parties have indicated that they would raise the issue of scams and controversies allegedly involving BJP chief ministers — Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh — and demand their resignations.
External Affairs Minister Swaraj is at the centre of a major row for helping former IPL boss Lalit Modi secure travel documents in the UK, while HRD Minister Irani is facing the Opposition’s flak in the wake of a controversy over her educational qualifications.
The ruling BJP, on its part, is likely to train its guns on Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of Congress, who is embroiled in a disproportionate assets case.
In an indication of the challenges his government is likely to face in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened the maiden meeting of all NDA constituents tomorrow to deliberate the strategy to counter the opposition.
Before meeting the allies at his residence, the Prime Minister may also attend two separate all-party meetings called by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to discuss ways to ensure a smooth session.
Sensing the opposition heat awaiting his government in Parliament, Modi had on Friday acknowledged that there will be a ‘muqabla’ (contest).
The government’s floor managers conceded Monsoon Session could be stormy. In the last Lok Sabha, an entire session was washed out over the Opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee in the 2G scam.
While the BJP-led NDA commands an absolute majority in Lok Sabha, it lacks numbers in the Upper House where Congress is the largest party and holds key to the passage of the crucial legislations, including GST and land bill.
Senior NDA ministers had on Thursday held a meeting to chalk out the strategy for pushing the government’s legislative business in view of the Opposition parties closing ranks on various issues.
The government has finalised 35 items of business for the monsoon session, which included nine bills pending in Rajya Sabha and four pending in Lok Sabha, besides introduction of 11 new bills.
The four bills pending in Lok Sabha include the contentious land bill but sources say it is unlikely to be taken up during this session as the Joint Committee of Parliament scrutinising the bill is unlikely to complete its proceedings on time.
The three other bills pending in the Lower House are the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
Crucial among the nine bills pending in Rajya Sabha are the Constitution (one hundred and twenty second) Amendment Bill, 2014 relating to GST, which is currently with a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, the Whistle Blower Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2015.
Other important bills pending in Rajya Sabha are the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012, the Appropriation Act (Repeal) Bill — which seeks to repeal obsolete laws, and the Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary, Assembly Constituencies (Third) Bill, 2014.
The 11 new bills, which the government plans to introduce include the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 that plans for sweeping changes in consumer protection laws and create a Consumer Protection Authority to fast-track grievance redressal of consumers on the lines of the US and European countries.
Others are the Constitution (Amendment) Bills, 2015 relating to reservation of women in Panchayats and urban local bodies, Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to settle commercial disputes outside courts, the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Services), which seeks to redress their long-pending demand of high court judges of one rank one pension, the National Commission for Women Bill, 2015 and the Human Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) Profiling Bill, 2015.