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Stormy session awaits government
November 21, 2006 13:24 IST
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, which on Wednesday will reach halfway through its term, will face the Opposition heat on many issues in the Parliament.
The Parliament session will be crucial, coming ahead of the Assembly elections in five states, including the key Uttar Pradesh polls.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is set to take up the issues like clemency to the mastermind of the attack on the Parliament, Mohammed Afzal Guru.
The Left parties have also lined up several issues, including the agrarian crisis, the status of Muslims, the Indo-US nuclear deal, Special Economic Zones and the rise in petroleum prices.
The BJP has planned a march protesting the way the Afzal issue was handled.
It is unclear, though, how many of its allies will accompany Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Kishenchand Advani and Rajnath Singh.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has already declared its intention to bring an adjournment motion on the issue of national security.
However, the Left intends to blunt the Opposition campaign saying that the matter of clemency is in the court of the President and not the government.
The opening day is scheduled to see the adjournment of the Rajya Sabha soon after it assembles, to mark the death of sitting member and hotelier Lalit Suri.
Apparently, keeping the UP elections in mind, the government has proposed to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to adjourn the Lok Sabha after condoling the death of former member and Bahujan Samajwadi founder Kanshi Ram in view of his immense contribution to the cause of the downtrodden.
The presentation in Parliament of the Rajinder Sachar Committee report on Muslims could turn out to be another flashpoint.
The main opposition BJP has warned against any attempts to provide reservations based on religion.
The Left parties will want to know what the government is doing for the betterment of Muslims.
Congress leaders have expressed confidence that the government has the full capacity to shake off any opposition challenge even if they decide to bring a no-confidence motion.
In a move to take the sting out of the opposition attack, the government has said it is ready to debate any issue.
A highlight of the session is likely to be the introduction of the long-pending Women's Reservation Bill amid indications that it will not be a smooth affair.
There have been differences within the UPA, with the RJD and outside supporter Samajwadi Party strongly opposing the bill in its present form.
Communist leaders will also seek amendments to the Special Economic Zones Act and Rules and a cut in the prices of petrol and diesel.
Both the issues had come up for detailed discussions at the UPA-Left Coordination meeting last week.