Budget session resumes today, Opposition set to raise PNB fraud
Many in the opposition, including the Congress and the Left parties, have indicated that they will insist on the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the fraud at PNB.india Updated: Mar 05, 2018 07:10 IST
The second part of the budget session of Parliament is expected to commence on a stormy note on Monday with the Opposition set to raise the fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam and the government likely to counter the onslaught by highlighting the arrest of former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in a money laundering case.
Many in the opposition, including the Congress and the Left parties, have indicated that they will insist on the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the fraud at PNB involving jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi who have since fled the country, and corrupt bankers.
The issue has united opposition parties such as the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Left parties, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Samajwadi Party.
Even the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has steered clear of confronting the BJP, is expected to take an aggressive stance against the government in the wake of BJP chief Amit Shah’s remarks that the saffron party’s ‘golden period’ will start with poll victories in Odisha, West Bengal and Kerala.
With the BJP expanding its footprint across the country, regional parties are feeling threatened and likely to forge a broad-based alliance within and without Parliament to counter it, analysts say. While Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has ruled out an alliance with the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming by-elections in Uttar Pradesh to take on the ruling BJP, she has kept the door open for a future partnership.
Senior opposition leaders will meet on Monday morning to discuss their floor strategy.
The other issues likely to be raised by the Opposition are the Rafale fighter aircraft deal and the alleged paper leak in the SSC Combined Graduate-Level (CGL) examination.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi will remain absent in the first week due to his visit to Singapore and Malaysia, starting March 8. Gandhi tweeted last week that he was going to spend Holi (March1) weekend with his grandmother who lives in Italy.
Upbeat after its wins in Tripura and Nagaland, the BJP has also kept its ammunition ready to attack the Congress on allegations of corruption against Chidambaram’s son and Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s son-in-law Gurpal Singh.
The Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill will be on top of the government’s legislative agenda as it seeks to complete the budgetary process after a three-week recess of Parliament.
It will also push for the passage of the Triple Talaq bill, and also try to get Parliament’s assent to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that aims to safeguard banks against the flight of defaulters (much like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, and Vijay Mallya did) by allowing the state to confiscate their assets.
A bill to provide constitutional status to the OBC commission and a new legislation against human trafficking are also expected to come up in the budget session.