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Parliament heads for stormy monsoon session

india Updated: Jul 22, 2006 11:37 IST
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With the Mumbai train bombings, rising prices, farmers' suicides and Maoist violence the talking points of the day, an aggressive opposition is set to take on the government in what is sure to be a tempestuous parliament session from Monday.

BJP-led opposition has already threatened that it would attack the government severely on the lapses in internal security and intelligence failures that led to a series of terror attacks, including the Mumbai blasts in which more than 200 people were killed.

"It will be a stormy monsoon session," warned VK Malhotra, deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha. "We have a range of issues to raise in parliament and expose the government's failures."

Malhotra said the opposition would grill the government on the spiralling prices of essential commodities, the 7/11 Mumbai and Srinagar blasts, farmers' suicides and the Maoist violence.

"We will focus on UPA's (the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance) failure to check the threats against internal security. This government has completely failed in its policies," Malhotra said.

The navy war room leak case -- in which four naval offices were suspended after allegations that they had leaked classified information relating to the planned purchase of sophisticated equipment -- would also be raised during the one-month session.

"We will continue our protest against corruption in this session too," declared Malhotra.

Besides the opposition, allies of the ruling Congress also seem to be unhappy with the internal security situation in the country.

"The policies on Jammu and Kashmir and Maoist rebellion seem to have completely failed. There has to be a review in the policies, and the unhappiness among the allies would definitely reflect inside the house," said a senior UPA leader.

However, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front is likely to spare the government on this sphere.

"Although intelligence failure in the terror attacks has been a serious issue, we are not going to raise the issue in the way the BJP wants," said Roopchand Pal, senior CPI-M MP.

"We want to caution the government that we need to take appropriate steps to deal with terrorism. But we do not support any divisive politics in parliament. The country has to be united to fight terrorism," Pal said.

But the Left is likely to come down heavily on the government on the issue of rising prices of essential commodities, following the fuel price hike.

It is also getting ready to put the government on the mat over other "burning issues" like the increasing number of farmers' suicides and the nuclear deal with the US.

On its part, the government said it was prepared for any discussion in parliament.

"The terror attacks, price rise, Indo-US nuclear deal, public distribution system, stability in the share market, the failed launches of GSLV and Agni-III are expected to dominate the session," admitted Suresh Pachouri, minister of state for parliamentary affairs.

"The government is ready to discuss any issue. Everyone is concerned about these issues," Pachouri said.

In an effort to smoothen things, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is holding a series of meetings over breakfasts, lunches and dinners with leaders of various political parties and groups.

He hosted a lunch for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Thursday, the Congress on Friday and will meet other UPA partners over a meal on Saturday.

The Left, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have been invited for a breakfast meeting on Sunday, which is expected to be followed by a customary lunch for leaders of all political parties.

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