Stormy monsoon session ahead, PM Modi calls meeting of NDA parties
Bracing for a united attack by the Opposition on the Lalit Modi row, Vyapam scam and other raging controversies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the maiden meet of all NDA constituents on Monday ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, eyeing to work out a strategy to weather the storm.
This is the first time Modi has called a meet of the ruling alliance since he stormed to power in May 2014. Sensing the opposition heat awaiting his government in Parliament, Modi has acknowledged that there will be a 'muqabla' (contest) this time.
"...Just wait to see the 'muqabla' (contest) we will have in some days," he had said at a recent event in Jammu where the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha was also present.
Before meeting the allies at his residence, the PM may also attend two separate all-party meetings called by parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to discuss ways to ensure a smooth session.
The Shiv Sena, which is the largest BJP ally, has long been demanding a meeting of NDA constituents. Party leader in the Rajya Sabha, Sanjay Raut, expressed happiness over Modi's decision, saying it would help the alliance chalk out a collective strategy to ward off the opposition challenge.
While the BJP-led NDA commands a sizeable majority in the Lok Sabha, it lacks numbers in the Upper House where main opposition Congress is the largest party and holds the key to passage of key legislations, including GST and land bill.
The government has finalised 35 items of business for the monsoon session, which included nine bills pending in Rajya Sabha and four pending in Lok Sabha, besides introduction of 11 new bills.
The Congress, led by its vice-president Rahul Gandhi has made its intentions clear asserting that it would raise the Lalit Modi controversy involving external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Vyapam scam, which has sent the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh on the back foot.
It has accused Modi of maintaining silence over these burning issues despite his proclamations of zero tolerance against corruption.
The Congress had recently accused Modi of having a "deep nexus" with former IPL boss Lalit Modi and bluntly told the government that there was no way out other than the resignation of Swaraj and Raje for "saving" the monsoon session.
It is also demanding the resignation of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan for accepting "favours" from a Vyapam scam accused.
The Congress has also targeted Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde over alleged scam cases.