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Battle lines drawn, Parliament all set for a stormy start

india Updated: Mar 08, 2017 23:47 IST
Parliament

A view of the Parliament House in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

The budget session of Parliament will resume on Thursday even as the political class waits with bated breath for the outcome of the five assembly elections.

While the result of the Uttar Pradesh poll is likely to impact the fate of the session, Opposition parties are trying to leverage the recent civic body polls in Maharashtra and Odisha and the developments in Tamil Nadu to stitch together a larger unity against the BJP.

The Opposition will meet on Thursday to chalk out its strategy. The session, starting on Thursday, will continue till April 12.

The session is like to see a stormy start as home minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to make a statement on the detection of an alleged ISIS module in UP, a claim refuted by the state police.

Read: ISIS module behind blast in Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train in Madhya Pradesh

“The Prime Minister, along with the home minister, should make a statement on the ISIS issue. We will also raise issues of farmers’ distress and the controversial statements of BJP and RSS MPs apart from an increase in ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader in Lok Sabha.

Opposition sources added that talks are on with Shiv Sena, the BJP’s biggest ally in the NDA, to join the Opposition on a “case-to-case” basis to attack the BJP.

“The Sena has seen how the BJP has crept into its turf in Maharashtra in the last civic body polls. The Sena wants to be more vocal against the BJP on a number of issues even as it is a part of the NDA government,” said an Opposition leader who has opened communication channels with the Sena.

Opposition parties are also waiting to see how the AIADMK — the third largest party in Lok Sabha — acts after the bitter power struggle in its organisation last month following the elevation of Sasikala as general secretary.

Read: AIADMK defends Sasikala’s election as general secretary

According to a Congress leader, the party’s three MPs in Rajya Sabha and 10 in Lok Sabha belong to former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam’s side. “We hope that the other AIADMK MPs will lend support to the Opposition’s issues as the BJP was perceived to be backing Panneerselvam,” said a Congress leader.

The Biju Janata Dal, another party which lost ground to BJP in its fiefdom, announced it will chart its own path. The fiercely anti-Congress BJD wants to play the role of a “constructive opposition party”.

“We have specific views on issues like the violence in Delhi University and Aadhaar,” said BJD’s Lok Sabha leader Bhartruhari Mahtab.

The Congress, meanwhile, will also take a call on its earlier threat to boycott Modi in Parliament for his attack against former PM Manmohan Singh during his reply to a debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the first half of the budget session.

The party has also decided to raise the issues of hate attacks against People of Indian Origin (PIOs) in the US and question Modi’s silence on such assaults.