Opinion

#Monsoon Session Of Parliament : Can The Opposition Get Its Act Together And Corner Modi Government On Host Of Contentious Issues?

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The Monsoon session of Parliament beginning on July 19 to August 13 promises to be a stormy one for the Modi Government . The opposition has host of issues to corner the government this time around and for that to happen they need to get their act together. Will they be able to do that, remains a big question?

The main focus will be the government’s handling of the second wave of the COVID-19, vaccine distribution and the preparations for the likely/ possible third wave . The  spiraling high prices of fuel -Diesel and Petrol are likely to be raised .  The tricky Ladakh situation , bilateral relation with China , military talks outcome post Galwan face-off are issues the opposition would want the government to clarify. The situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban threatening to wrest Kabul  is likely generate debate. India’s stand  is expected from the MEA .

Defence is expected to dominate with the  Rafale deal once again back in the limelight. This comes after France has ordered judicial enquiry into the Rafale deal with India. French online journal, Mediapart, has reported that a French judge has been appointed to head a probe into the Rs. 59,000 crore Rafale deal with India for 36 fighter jets. According to the report, the judge will probe suspected “corruption and favouritism” in the inter-governmental deal that was signed in 2016. Congress party has been very vocal about the deal with Rahul Gandhi leading the charge. The government though is expected to showcase that there is no controversy on the said deal as it had been been given clean chit by the Supreme Court . Expect another round of rafale face- off in parliament.

The Centre and BJP government is Uttar Pradesh are likely to face embarrassing situation if the rival parties bring to fore or demand probe into the alleged – corruption in the acquisition of the piece of land by the Ram mandir trust for building the grand Ram Temple . Not only the Ram Temple , the Centre’s much talked about Central Vista project In Delhi is also expected to be raised.

The protests by the farmers on the three farm laws have not made any progress despite several round of talks . Will parliament do a re- think on the farm laws remains to be seen.  The government face-off with social media giants – Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp , Google over the new IT rules could also come up.

One expects the government to lay out its plans to revive the COVID-19 battered economy, address the unemployment, spell out the Air India disinvestment status . Further what steps it takes in the Union territory of Jammu And Kashmir. With mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir the National Conference, PDP , Congress demanding statehood first and then elections , the onus is on the government which way it takes forward. The government had already done a massive U- turn in J&K.  With prime Minister Narendra Modi holding talks with  several leaders – Like  Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti , the same leaders who were put under house arrest after Article 370 and special status for Jammu and Kashmir was revoked  on August 5, 2019 by the government.

Another tricky issue that the government is likely to face the opposition onslaught is the use of central agencies – CBI, NIA, ED , NCB, NHRC to target the non BJP states and opposition leaders with brazen consistency. TMC is expected to rake up the Narada case where West Bengal BJP Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari features prominently in the tapes and the CBI’s volte face regrading his arrest / prosecution.

All eyes will be on the new Union Cabinet Ministers in in Modi 2.0.how they fare in Parliament –  organisational heavyweight and chief trouble shooter Bhupender Yadav( Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Labour)  ,  Jyotiraditya Scindia ( Civil Aviation  Minister) , Sarbananda Sonowal ( Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Minister of AYUSH ), new Law minister Kiren Rijiju replaces Ravi Shankar Prasad , the new health minister Mansukh Mandaviya replacing Dr Harsh Vardhan .

In order for smooth transaction of business, the government has reached out to the opposition with newly-appointed Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal met senior Opposition leaders including former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, his party colleague Anand Sharma and Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar. This exercise is routine . But given the acrimonious government-  opposition relation  off- late terming  any opposite voice  as –  dissent, anti- national  and  slapping  sedition charge  on slight pretext , it is highly unlikely the Monsson session will be smooth one .

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