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Uttarakhand row: Stormy parliamentary session looms

Uttarakhand row: Stormy parliamentary session looms
Political uncertainty in Uttarakhand, despite the matter being sub-judice, is going to hang heavy on the session, which is reassembling after a month-long recess to pass various budgetary provisions.

In Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, deputy leader of Congress party Anand Sharma has already moved a motion to deplore the government’s role. The proposal says, “That this House deplores the destabilisation of the democratically elected government in the state of Uttarakhand and disapproves the unjustified imposition of President’s rule.”

Briefing reporters after the all-party meeting on Sunday, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan discounted chances of early discussion on the matter. Asked if a discussion on Uttarakhand can be allowed, she said, “The court has given stay till April 27 and I don’t think till 27th (there can be a discussion).” 

Having mistimed its move in Uttarakhand and having failed to install an alternative government in the Himalayan state, thanks to judicial intervention, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would need all its resources to counter an aggressive opposition. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, has indicated that the treasury benches too would indulge in fair amount of aggression to blunt the Opposition’s attack.

Centre had prorogued the adjourned Budget session earlier this month to facilitate imposition of President’s rule in the state and pass an ordinance to facilitate drawals from the Consolidated Fund of India. It had expected to place a government of its choice in the intervening period, however, having failed to do so, it now has to come to Parliament for the approval of the invocation of article 356 in the state.  

At a meeting of senior functionaries of the party convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the general opinion was to “not cooperate” with the government. Centre in the intervening period has dislodged two Congress governments – Arunanchal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. With key legislations including the Goods and Services Tax Bill, besides, Bill to replace Enemy Property Ordinance, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and Companies Amendment Bill pending before the House for passage, “non cooperation” by the Congress could again lead to house paralysis as it happened during the winter and before that Monsoon sessions.

The Centre on the other hand plans to corner the opposition with “fresh revelations” in the Ishrat Jahan case. “Such issues which become public knowledge can always be discussed by MPs, like the revelations in the Ishrat Jahan case and those in the case of Colonel Purohit,” Jaitley recently told a television channel on the possibility of the matter being raked inside the house.
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