The Opposition parties, especially the bloc led by Congress party, are set to raise the issue of “rising intolerance” in a big way in the upcoming Winter session of the Parliament scheduled to begin on November 26. The session may well turn out another testing affair for Narendra Modi government, succeeding the stormy Monsoon session where both the houses witnessed opposition protest over Lalit Modi issue and ‘Vyapam’ scam in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
The Winter session assumes significance for the BJP-led NDA government who is seeking an early passage of the all-crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, besides host of other ‘development’ initiatives.
According to the leaders of the Congress party, the principal opposition party will also be revising its attack on Central government by pressing for resignations of Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje over Lalit Modi issue and that of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Vyapam scam. The twin issue had resulted in a near washout of Monsoon session, which also saw an unprecedented protest march by the MPs of ruling NDA fold against the opposition’s “disruptive” stand.
The Congress party may also take on the government over Union Minister VK Singh’s controversial remarks on the killing of two young children from a Dalit family in Haryana. The former army chief had raised controversy last month after he had said that the Centre cannot be blamed “if somebody throws a stone at a dog” replying to a question raised by press seeking Centre’s reaction to the shocking incident.
“The Prime Minister cannot ride roughshod over the Opposition,” a senior Congress leader said expressing anger over the way Narendra Modi has treated the Opposition parties on key issues.
On the issue of crucial GST Bill, the party has sent a clear signal that it wanted the bill to be passed if the concerns of the party are met. While it welcomed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement where he reached out to Congress party saying he is “willing to discuss” issues concerning GST with it, one senior Congress party leader said the government would also have to meet Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Congress party President Sonia Gandhi is also expected to call a meeting next week to work out the party strategy for the Winter session.
Meanwhile, a meeting of NDA leaders slated to be held on Wednesday was cancelled following the death of VHP leader Ashok Singhal. The meeting was called by the ruling BJP to work out strategy with its NDA allies for the winter session of Parliament beginning next week. It will be the first session after the Bihar Assembly polls, where the BJP-led NDA was defeated by the JD(U)-RJD-Congress ‘Grand Alliance’.
Reaching out to the Opposition to pass key reform bills, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu urged them not to interpret the Bihar polls result as a “mandate to disrupt Parliament”.
Naidu was to meet the leaders of all NDA allies at his residence to chalk out the government plans on its legislative business and floor coordination plans amid indications of the Opposition parties closing ranks on various issues. He will now meet NDA leaders and leaders of opposition parties within a week.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan may also be holding an all-party meeting a day or two before the session begins.
(With inputs from the Agencies)