Parliament’s winter session: Opposition plans offensive against Modi govt

The Congress, along with other Opposition parties such as the Left, Trinamool Congress and DMK, has previously stalled the government’s bills in Rajya Sabha and disrupted proceedings in the Lok Sabha, where the BJP-led NDA enjoys a brute majority.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2017 22:42 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Parliament,Winter Session,Congress
The impact of the Gujarat exit polls is likely to be felt in the House.(AP Photo)

The Congress-led opposition is likely to attack the government on key economic and corruption issues when the winter session of Parliament begins on Friday.

The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will be bolstered by Thursday’s exit poll results that gave clear mandates to the BJP in both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sources in both camps indicated that the impact of the Gujarat results is likely to be felt in the House.

“Even if the Congress is unable to get majority but increases its tally in the Gujarat assembly, we will certainly see a more aggressive face of the principal opposition party,” said a senior party strategist.

The session’s first full day will be on Monday – when assembly election results will be declared – as the first day is likely to be adjourned after obituary references to three former parliamentarians.

The government pushed back the session from its usual schedule to ensure that it doesn’t clash with the Gujarat poll campaign. The BJP, however, faced flak from the opposition parties who accused the government for trying to curtail the length of the winter session.

The government has listed nine new bills, including one to criminalise instant triple talaq, for the short session.

It also intends to pass 24 bills which are stuck in either of the two houses.

The Congress, along with other opposition parties such as the Left, Trinamool Congress and DMK, had often stalled the government’s bills in Rajya Sabha and disrupted proceedings in the Lower House, where the BJP-led NDA enjoys a brute majority.

Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who spoke about tough measures against disruptions, told Rajya Sabha TV on Thursday that the Opposition must have ways to express their views.

“My appeal to the government is allow the opposition to express their point of views,” he said.

Naidu, who will run his first full session as the chairman, also added that if the government and the opposition can’t agree on debates and smooth proceedings, he will “decide how to run the House”.

“If they agree, then fine. Otherwise, as the chairman, I will decide to how run the House,” he added.

In the monsoon session, the Lok Sabha functioned for just 67% of its allotted time while the Upper House could utilise only 72% of the allotted time.

Naidu reminded the MPs that the House has to effectively highlight the will, aspirations and hope of the people but also added that the lawmakers should respect the mandate.

“At the end of it you can either talk out or walk out,” said Naidu, in an apparent signal to the opposition.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has also called an all-party meeting to appeal to all MPs for smooth functioning of the House.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 21:03 IST