Winter session of Parliament beginning on Thursday is set to be stormy with Opposition parties closing ranks to target Government on issues including ‘intolerance’ even as the ruling dispensation, which is keen to pass the GST bill, expressed its readiness to discuss all issues.
The opposition attack is set to gain momentum from next Monday when the government brings its legislative agenda on the table after a two-day special sitting to discuss Constitution and its maker B R Ambedkar on his 125th birth anniversary.
The government has called an all-party meeting today. BJP parliamentary party executive and NDA constituents will meet later at the Prime Minister’s residence followed by an all-party meeting called by the Speaker.
Amid indications of a tough session ahead, senior ministers yesterday huddled to chalk out the strategy and work out floor coordination plans while parties like Congress, JDU and CPI-M made their intent clear, deciding to give notices for debate on the issue of intolerance and attacking Government on the key reform measure of GST.
NDA ministers discussed legislative proposals to be brought before consideration of both the Houses of Parliament which include three Bills relating to replacement of Ordinances, GST Bill, Real Estate Regulation Bill etc.
The ministers also discussed recent incidents like Dadri killing, rationalist M M Kalburgi’s killing and some other ones based on which a campaign alleging rising intolerance is on.
Government is likely to take the line in Parliament that the Centre and BJP have nothing to do with these incidents and put the ball in the court of the states.
Government managers are also expected to state that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already responded to the matters.
The view in the government is that there was no reason for it to be defensive in these matters but at the same time it should be ready to discuss them if the Opposition insists for the same.
On GST, the government’s woes are far from over.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said yesterday that
“Government has not done its homework on GST bill. It has not convened an all-party meeting, which it should have done to discuss the same. Government will be solely responsible if the bill is not cleared in the House as it has not done its homework.” The Left leader has also given a notice for a discussion on the “growing intolerance” in the country, which has been approved by Rajya Sabha Chairman “as first item for discussion. So, we will raise voices against it,” he had said.
Yechury had said that six Left parties, including CPI(M), would also hold protests, both inside and outside the House, on the “hate offensive” by BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits.
Sources in the Congress said that in the coming session, those who may face the ire of the party may include Union Minister V K Singh over “dog” comment on the killing of two young children from a Dalit family in Haryana.
On the GST issue, the party has sent a clear signal that it wanted the bill to be passed if the concerns of the party are met.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said, “We have already given notice for discussion on intolerance and it should be admitted under Rule 193. So we will discuss about the Constitution on the 125th anniversary. Other than this, we have given another notice on the subject.”
“Whenever that is admitted, we will together discuss on this issue. Each of us want that there is tolerance in the country for peace and development and investment to come,” he said.
JD(U) has decided to raise the issue of rise in prices of pulse, edible oils and vegetables under Rule 267 of suspension of business in the House.
Party President President Sharad Yadav said that all the issues ranging from ‘Ghar Wapasi’, Dadri to other incidents of similar nature showing ‘rise in intolerance’ in the last 18-months of this government will be raised. He said that his party will give a notice to discuss ‘intolerance’ issue before Parliament.
Yadav said on Twitter, “We will raise issues of love jihad to ‘ghar vapsi’ and increasing intolerance during course of discussion on commitment towards Constitution.”
The party is repeatedly saying that the Prime Minister should signal his intent to act against people spreading the “venom” by removing five Union ministers, who made one or the other “provocative” remarks.
“The Prime Minister should remove Union Ministers Giriraj Singh, Sadhvi Niranjany Jyoti, Mahesh Sharma, V K Singh and Sanjiv Balyan. Only having a debate on the issue and passing a resolution is not enough. The PM should give the message that he means business by removing these ministers,” JD-U general secretary KC Tyagi maintains.
A total of 38 Bills, including some finance bills, are awaiting parliamentary approval.
The crucial GST bill is also pending in Parliament which the government hopes to pass in the session.