Minister of parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi during a media briefing on January 8, 2020.(Sonu Mehta/HT Archive)
Minister of parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi during a media briefing on January 8, 2020.(Sonu Mehta/HT Archive)

Only Congress has an issue with no Winter Session: Pralhad Joshi

Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said many people have suggested not to go for session as there is a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases. The government because, of the extraordinary situation, are calling it (next session) in January, he said.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Sunetra Choudhury
UPDATED ON DEC 16, 2020 02:37 AM IST

Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi spoke to HT about the decision to call off the Winter Session of Parliament, and the criticism by Opposition leaders that they were not consulted. Edited excerpts:

Your decision to cancel the Winter Session has become very controversial. The Opposition says they were never consulted.
In September, we had a session and in September itself, all parties including the Congress decided to conclude it early (due to large number of Covid-19 cases). It is basically the Congress party which has raised the major objection to the Winter Session being cancelled. Let the Congress leaders talk among themselves. If they are not in talking terms, it is not our responsibility.

Who did you speak to? Jairam Ramesh tweeted that there wasn’t any discussion.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary.

They agreed to not have the session?
I had a talk and I asked them what is your suggestion. They said ‘theek hai. aap Budget Session kar sakte hain (okay, you can hold the Budget Session)’. That’s what they said. We don’t want to say where we talked about it in public because decency doesn’t demand that. We have also spoken to the other major political parties. More than that I do not want to reveal. If they have a fight in their own house, they need to sort it out. Jairam Ramesh should talk to his leader. It’s not my job to make them talk to each other.

Even Derek O’ Brien of the Trinamool Congress said that he hadn’t been consulted?
Sudip Bandhopadhyay is their parliamentary party leader; we spoke to him. This entire thing has been done through dialogue and consultation. Many people due to Covid-19 didn’t want the session to take place now. It was an informal discussion, and I don’t want to name people publicly. I don’t want to name anybody. Basically, it is just the Congress party which has a problem

What about the general criticism that the government had the session when they had to push their ordinance through but not discuss the protests?
This is an extraordinary situation. Many people have suggested not to go for session as there is a spike in the number of cases. The government because, of the extraordinary situation, are calling it (next session) in January. What’s the problem?

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