Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought the cooperation of all parties for the smooth functioning of Parliament, and told an all-party meeting that issues raised by the Opposition gave the government an opportunity to re-evaluate its policy decisions.
But soon after the meeting, the Congress announced that over a dozen parties were keen on bringing a no-confidence motion against the Modi government.
“The Prime Minister today sought the cooperation of all political parties for the smooth functioning of Parliament and a productive session … The entire country expects and hopes Parliament will function and debate issues of national interest,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.
18 working days
Beginning Wednesday, the monsoon session will have 18 working days before ending on August 10. And the government has listed as many as 45 Bills, including pending Bills for introduction and passage.
The second part of the entire Budget session was washed out after the Telugu Desam Party had brought a no-confidence motion.
Last week, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan wrote to all MPs, asking them to allow the House to function.
But on Tuesday, hours before Ms. Mahajan convened a customary all-party meeting in the evening, a group of senior MPs including Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress and Mohammed Salim of the CPI(M) sent a common letter, questioning the Speaker’s decision not to allow the motion moved by the TDP in the earlier session.
“If the government does its job, under rule, you have to provide that [no-confidence motion]. The rules are not meant only for the Opposition and this goes beyond rules. It is part of the Constitution,” said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Earlier in the morning, at the government-convened all-party meeting, Mr. Azad categorically said the Opposition should not be blamed for disruptions, and alleged that Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV did not show the Opposition leaders when they spoke in the House.
The Opposition has listed several important issues for discussions such as lynchings and vigilantism, women’s safety, jobs, farm distress, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, dilution of the SC/ST Act and attacks on Dalits, inflation, fuel prices and weak rupee.
Mr. Azad raised the issue of malfunctioning of EVMs at the Kairana and Gondia bypolls and urged the government to consider going back to ballot paper. BJP ally and Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral too said concerns regarding EVMs should be addressed.
CPI MP D. Raja raised the issue of ending reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in higher education institutions and lateral entry into government service without getting the Parliament’s nod.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar raised the issue of recently announced minimum support price (MSP) for paddy and how it differed from the BJP manifesto of 2014.
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