The UPA government has listed approval of the food security ordinance and passage of the land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement bill among its top priority agenda for the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament starting August 5, hinting at even extending the session to push through bills considered politically crucial for the Congress-led ruling alliance.
At a first-of-its kind meeting between top ministers and leaders of all political parties on Wednesday, the UPA government also pushed for three reforms-related bills — the insurance act amendment, pension (PFRDA) bill and the direct tax code bill.
The parliament session will the last before crucial assembly elections in five states – Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan – which would be followed by general elections due in April-May next year.
Of the five states going to polls this year, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have BJP governments while the other three are ruled by the Congress.
Emerging from the meeting, RJD leader Lalu Prasad predicted that the government would go for early polls.
With just 16 working days available in the session, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath, according to sources, indicated that if necessary the government would try to extend the sitting of the Houses.
This window, according to the sources, would be used to push the reforms bills. But the paucity of time may see some key anti-corruption bills take a backseat as the government’s priority would be to pass social and financial reforms-related bills.
Though there were speculations that the government would also rush try to through the Andhra Pradesh reorganisation bill to create Telangana, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said it would not be tabled in this session.
Apart from Kamal Nath and Shinde, finance minister P Chidambaram also represented the government in the meeting. According to sources, most of the Opposition parties hinted that they will support the bill to replace the food security ordinance.
The two leaders of Opposition, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, pressed for discussions on the Uttarakhand flood situation.