Congress, BJP spar over Winter Session delay

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi : Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders at the Congress Working Committee meeting at 10 Janpath in New Delhi, Nov 20, 2017.  Photo - PTI

New Delhi : Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders at the Congress Working Committee meeting at 10 Janpath in New Delhi, Nov 20, 2017.
Photo – PTI

The principal opposition party launched a scathing criticism of the Modi government accusing it of “sabotaging” the Winter session of Parliament. But the government countered the contention soon as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Parliament sessions have often been rescheduled to ensure they did not overlap with elections.

Earlier in the day, addressing her party leaders at the CWC meeting on Monday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the government is not convening a session as it will face tough questions on the economic issues, especially the GST and demonetisation.

“The Modi-government in its arrogance has cast a dark shadow on India’ Parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the Winter session of Parliament on flimsy grounds,” Sonia Gandhi said.

Taking on the government on the issue of GST, Ms Gandhi said government was “ill prepared” to implement the goods and services tax, even terming it a “flawed” tax regime.

“The Prime Minister had the audacity to have a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch an ill prepared and flawed GST but today he lacks the courage to face Parliament,” the Congress president said.

Turning on to demonetisation, the issue which her party has long used to criticise the BJP-led dispensation, she said the move have left millions of people “suffering”.

“A year later, demonetization has done nothing but rub salt on the wounds of distressed farmers, small traders, housewives and daily workers. The fortunes of a handful are being built by destroying the future of the poor and the oppressed,” she told the top meet of her party leadership.

File photo of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley  addressing media. Photo - PTI

File photo of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing media.
Photo – PTI

The Winter session of Parliament, which traditionally convenes from the third week of November and lasts till the third week of December, has still not been announced. As per the convention, the members of both the house of Parliament has to be informed at least 15 days in advance prior to holding a session.

According to sources, the government is considering a truncated Winter session of around 10 days starting from the second week of December.

Meanwhile, Arun Jaitley refuted with the Congress allegations saying the opposition party had also delayed a session in 2011 and even earlier because the sittings coincided with election campaigns.

“It has been a tradition and it has happened several times that Parliament sessions are rescheduled when an election is happening… (Congress) did so in 2011, and even before that,” he said.

Taking on the Congress party, the union minister said that session would be held and the Congress will be “totally exposed”.

“The Congress has given the most corrupt government in its ten years of rule, while Narendra Modi has given the most honest government. By forcibly saying that a truth is a lie does not make it a lie,” Jaitley said.