Monsoon session of Parliament likely to be stormy
The monsoon session of Parliament beginning on Monday is expected to be stormy with the Opposition parties all set to corner the government over a range of issues concerning national security, foreign policy and other domestic matters while the ruling alliance is gearing up to counter the onslaught on it.
Eighteen Opposition parties, which have joined hands to put up candidates in the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections against the ruling National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) nominees, are expected to raise the military stand-off with China, though in a restrained manner, the law and order situation in Kashmir in the wake of the recent terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims and incidents of lynching over beef controversy and suicide of farmers in some states.
The Opposition parties that include the Congress, CPI-M, Trinamool Congress, Samajwasdi Party, Nationalist Congress Psarty, BSP, Janata Dal-United, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and DMK among others, have already clarified that besides the elections of the President and Vice President, they will have floor coordination in Parliament to corner the government.
The stand-off between India and China in the Doklam plateau in the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan, is now a month old, with no end to it yet in sight.
In an attempt to convince Opposition parties on the stand-off with China, the government on Friday and Saturday briefed their leaders and assured them the issue will be resolved diplomatically. The Opposition parties are expected to raise some questions, though they may not be very aggressive in their strategy on the issue.
"Every issue that affects national security and national interest is a matter of concern for each one of the 125 crore Indians. As a responsible and principled Opposition party, we shall be raising all these issues and many more," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told IANS.
He said former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had already said that the GST roll-out will be raised during the session in view of the fact that the law in its present form was not the law that was originally drafted by the Congress party.
"The Congress will demand inclusion of petroleum, electricity and real estate in the GST," Surjewala said.
Besides these, he said, the Congress will also raise issues pertaining to farmers' distress and Mandsaur police firing in both houses of the Parliament.
CPI-M leader Mohammad Salim said apart from issues concerning tension on the border, his party will raise the issue of mob lynching and the agrarian crisis.
"Fear is being spread in the minority community. In the name of saviour of cow, the government has become the devourer (Rakshak ke naam par ye sarkar bhakshak ban gayee hai)," Salim told IANS.
He said the CPI-M will also raise the issues of Kashmir situation, border tensions with China as well as Pakistan, and agrarian crisis. "We have identified all these issues which we are going to be raised in both the houses," he said.
The TMC and RJD are likely to raise the issue of vendetta politics and targetting of the Opposition leaders through the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and other central agencies.
To counter the opposition's onslaught, the government is also gearing up.
The BJP Parliamentary Party Executive will meet on the eve of begining of the monsoon session that will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will also address NDA members of Parliament.
Parliament Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar also has convened an all-party meeting to seek their support for smooth functioning of Parliament.
Sources in the BJP said that the government will try to pass a dozen bills during the session, including the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, Whistle blowers' Protection Bill, Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, Enemy Property (Amendment) Bill Consumer Protection Bill, and the Companies (Amendment) Bill.
Both houses of Parliament are unlikely to transact any business on the first day (July 17) on account of the death of two members -- Vinod Khanna (Lok Sabha) and Anil Dave and P. Goverdhan Reddy (Rajya Sabha).
On the same day, voting to elect the new President is scheduled in which 776 members of Parliament are eligible to vote.