The Winter Session of Parliament has been advanced by four days to begin on November 22, leaving a window of opportunity open for Chinese president Hu Jintao to address a joint session of Parliament on the first day.
The Chinese President begins his four-day India visit on 20 November. He, however, leaves for Mumbai on 22 November; the day Parliament’s Winter Session will now begin. The session – that was initially slated to begin from November 27 – will have 20 sittings and conclude on 19 December.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier indicated that the 33 per cent women’s reservation bill could be introduced in the winter session.
A senior minister on Friday hinted that since there was broad agreement on the need for women reservations, the government could leave it to the parliamentary standing committee to work on the controversial issue of sub-classifying a sub-quota for women belonging to the OBC and minority community.
The government has not formally acknowledged the proposal to have Jintao address Parliament so far. On Friday, parliamentary affairs minister PR Dasmunsi was quick to dismiss any link between Jintao’s visit and the change in dates.
Dasmunsi insisted that he, as the parliamentary affairs minister, had no knowledge about any proposal in this regard.
But the change in plans is in line with the government’s message earlier to Left parties that the Winter session may be advanced in view of a proposal being discussed to have Jintao address a joint session of Parliament.
A similar plan to have US President George W Bush address Parliament during his State visit this year had to be abandoned, apparently to avoid any embarrassment to the visiting leader in view of the Left parties declaring their intention to boycott the address.
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