The government found itself cornered as Parliament opened on Friday with the Left giving notices of breach of privilege against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and joining the BJP in demanding a full-fledged winter session. They suspect the present session may either go in for a recess (from October 25 to November 5) or be curtailed in view of the festival and electoral season. The Left is also likely to seek an adjournment motion on communal violence and terror attacks.
The privilege notices accuse Singh of misleading Parliament on the nuclear deal by not sticking to his assurance during the trust vote in July, that he would revert to the Lok Sabha before signing the deal.
While Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari would take a view on the admissibility or otherwise of these notices, the Congress dismissed them as “politically motivated”. Spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said the Left was “galloping” towards a huge blunder as opposing the Congress would only help the BJP.
At the all-party meet called by the Speaker, the government found itself on the mat as BJP’s LK Advani, CPM’s Basudeb Acharia and CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta questioned the status and timing of the current session, scheduled till November 21. They accused it of fixing dates so as to avoid facing Parliament for long. They also demanded a winter session which the UPA may want to avoid lest it is asked to prove its strength, when the numbers in the House are vague after the post-trust vote disqualifications and the DMK’s threat to quit on the Tamil issue.
With inputs from Zia Haq