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Ready for structured debate: Govt to Oppn

By, New Delhi
Dec 03, 2023 06:26 AM IST

The winter session of Parliament is starting with a face-off between the Opposition and the government. The Opposition demands debates on various issues and bringing back suspended MPs. The session will continue till December 22, and the results of the four assembly elections on Sunday might have an impact. The ethics committee will submit its report on Monday, recommending the disqualification of Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mahua Moitra. Opposition leaders are expected to challenge the report and protest against her removal. Opposition leaders also demanded discussions on price rise, unemployment, and the Israel-Palestine issue.

The winter session of Parliament is set to start with a fresh face-off between the Opposition and the government with the former demanding a debate on the ethics committee’s report against Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mahua Moitra and demand that MPs who are facing indefinite suspension be brought back to the House.

Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Pralhad Joshi with Congress MPs Pramod Tiwari, Jairam Ramesh on Saturday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Pralhad Joshi with Congress MPs Pramod Tiwari, Jairam Ramesh on Saturday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

At the customary pre-session meeting of all parties, a number of leaders sought discussion on the role of governors, Israel-Palestine issue, price rise and unemployment. The Opposition cautioned the government against pushing bills without giving sufficient time for Opposition-sponsored debates.

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Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi announced that the all-party meeting was held under defence minister Rajnath Singh’s chairmanship with 30 leaders from 23 parties in attendance.

“There was demand for a short duration and zero hour. We told them that it is their (Opposition’s) responsibility to create a conducive atmosphere for structured debates. Last time, we were ready to discuss the Manipur situation. This will be the last (full) session. All issues can be taken up if the Chair permits. We also want discussions on whatever work we have done, our success and achievements under PM Narendra Modi ji,” Joshi said.

The session will start on Monday, a day after the results of the four assembly elections, and it will be the last full session before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The results of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana elections on Sunday might also have a bearing on the session that will continue till December 22.

On Monday, the ethics panel will submit its report in which it has recommended disqualification of Moitra from the 17th Lok Sabha. In the all-party meeting, Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay raised the issue and said, “It’s a normal practice that parliamentary committees submit their report in Parliament but the ethics committee report is not yet tabled but the media has already reported its contents. It is in connection with one of our members. A few MPs are under suspension and we are seeing reports in the media that one member who belongs to our party is going to be expelled shortly. If any MP is expelled, a full discussion should be allowed on the floor of the House. The House may take a decision after the full discussion.”

Opposition leaders are expected to challenge the report and protest against any move to remove Moitra from the House, at least three leaders said. But the BJP-led NDA has a sweeping majority in the Lower House to pass any motion to disqualify her over the cash-for-query charges.

A number of MPs, including those from the Congress and the CPI(M), supported Bandopadhayay’s stand in their own way. Another MP said the ethics panel chairman has insulted Moitra. Several Opposition leaders from the Rajya Sabha demanded that MPs put under indefinite suspension should be brought back in the House. The AAP’s Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh are two MPs under suspension from the Upper House.

The Congress leaders demanded that price rise and unemployment — the two key poll planks for the party against the BJP — should be discussed during the session. Congress leaders also asked for more time for Opposition-sponsored business and cautioned the government against bulldozing bills without allowing short-duration discussions on the Opposition’s issues.

RSP leader NK Premachandran and some other Left leaders asked for a detailed discussion on the Israel-Palestine issue. Some leaders from South India also said that Hindi nomenclature for government bills was an insult to non-Hindi speaking states.

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