Special session of Parliament to be held in new building from Sept 19

Sonia Gandhi writes to PM, urges him to discuss nine issues raised by Opposition

Special session of Parliament to be held in new building from Sept 19

The government is all set to hold the special session of Parliament in the new building from September 19 onwards after starting the session from the old building on September 18.

The special session would shift from old to new building on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi on September 19 and continue till September 22.

As the preparations for holding the special session are in full swing, the Opposition has attacked the government for not announcing the agenda for the special session, which has put aside all the previous precedents and conventions of the Parliament.

Raising her concerns over calling the special session, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointing out that no agenda had been listed for the special session of Parliament.

“I must point out that this special session has been convened without any consultation with other political parties. None of us have any idea of its agenda. All we have been communicated is that all five days have been allocated for government business,” Sonia Gandhi said in her letter.

Notably, the government has announced that there will be no question hour, zero hour or private members’ business during the session.

In her letter, Gandhi has flagged nine issues that her party wants to be discussed in the special session. The letter of Gandhi has come a day after the party’s top leadership and the floor leaders of INDIA met separately to decide the strategy for the five-day session beginning from September 18.

In her letter, Gandhi flagged issues such as the economic situation with a focus on the price rise, growing unemployment, rise in inequalities and the distress of micro, small and medium enterprises; farmers’ issues; demand for a JPC investigation into the Adani Group’s transactions in light of many revelations; the situation in Manipur; the rise in communal tension in states like Haryana; the continuing border tension with China; a caste census; the “attack” on the federal structure; and the impact of floods and drought in many states.

“We most certainly want to participate in the special session because it will give us an opportunity to raise matters of public concern and importance….I earnestly hope that in a spirit of constructive cooperation, these issues will be taken up in the forthcoming special session,” she said.

Responding to Sonia Gandhi’s allegation that “parties were never consulted” by the government before it called a parliament session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “It is deeply unfortunate that you are politicising the work of our Parliament and when there is no controversy, you are unnecessarily raking it up.”

“The session has been called following the laid down rules and regulations... perhaps you are not paying attention to the conventions. Before calling a session, consultations are never done with other political parties and nor do we discuss the issues. We do call leaders of all parties after the President announces the date for the new session for a meeting in which we discuss the issues and business that will be taken up during the session,” he said.

“Parliament session has been convened from September 18 after following all established procedures. Political parties are never consulted in advance,” Joshi added.

“We are ready for a debate on every issue. But the issues that you have mentioned have already been discussed during the no-confidence motion debate during the monsoon session of Parliament,” the minister said, adding that the list of business will be announced at the right time as per the established practice.

The Congress and the Opposition parties have already decided against boycotting the session despite saying it has been convened without any consultations.

In fact, the majority view at the Opposition meeting on Tuesday was that the parties should seek to raise issues of common concern and even a walkout should be symbolic. In other words, the MPs could stage a walkout in protest but return to the House.

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