While the last Budget session of Parliament was a wash-out, all eyes are on the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament set to begin from July 18 till August 10. Bitter exchanges between the BJP and the Opposition parties on several issues off- late has cast a shadow on the session . And there is a fear that due to this war of words another parliament wash-out could well be on the cards if the current acrimony continues.
The Opposition parties have chalked out a plan for the coming session. While presenting a united front on several issues the opposition parties, including the Congress, have reportedly reached a consensus to allow both Houses to function and hold the government responsible for any disruption.
At a meeting to decide their common strategy to corner the government during the session, starting 18 July, the opposition leaders discussed major issues they want to raise in Parliament, including cases of mob lynching, atrocities on Dalits and women, rising unemployment, woes of farmers and backwards, and reservation in higher education institutions.
During the meeting, the parties also decided to unitedly move forward in fielding a joint candidate for the post of deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha, which fell vacant after the retirement of P J Kurien on 1 July. Those present at the meeting included leaders from the Congress, NCP, TMC, BSP, SP, RJD, DMK, CPI(M), CPI, JD(S), RSP, IUML and KC-M, among others.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) made it clear that it was not in the fray for the post and will support any joint opposition candidate through consensus. TMC leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, whose name was doing the rounds for the post, stated the party’s stand at the meeting. Sources said during the meeting, no candidate was discussed and the entire opposition agreed that there should be a consensus candidate and the same should have acceptance among all parties and not just from any one party.
Leaders from the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the TMC, which are the largest opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, should sit together and find a “suitable candidate”, they said. The name of Akali leader Naresh Gujral is doing the rounds for the post from the ruling NDA. No decision has been taken yet.
“Monday’s meeting was part of the tradition where leaders of like-minded opposition parties meet before the Parliament session and discussed what issues are to be raised. On Tuesday, in the meeting with the government, we will raise the issues and all leaders will raise their issues and will press for a discussion on them.
“The opposition parties present in Monday’s meeting decided with the consensus that they want the Parliament to function… If there is no discussion on all these issues and create disturbances, then the opposition will not be responsible for it, the government is,” Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after the meeting at the Parliament House Library.