A united Opposition is all set to raise the heat on the government over issues like lynching incidents and vigilantism, the Kashmir situation and the border stand-off with China during the monsoon session of Parliament that begins on Monday.
The session, which will continue till August 11, is also likely to witness heated debates on other key issues like the fallout of the GST, the agrarian crisis and the policy towards Pakistan.
Some parties are likely to raise the issue of notification on ban on cow slaughter and demand an explanation from the government on it.
“We will try and put the government on the mat and demand answers on some key issues that are posing a threat to the country’s social harmony,” a senior opposition leader said.
Communist Party of India leader D Raja said the opposition “will seek answers from the government on what they are doing to check rising incidents of cow vigilantism and lynchings in the country that pose grave danger to the social harmony of the country and the idea of India”.
The government, on its part, is seeking the cooperation of opposition in getting key legislative business passed and has lined up around two dozen bills in the session that will have around 20 sittings.
The increased opposition synergy comes at a time when 18 parties have come together under one platform to pin the government on some key issues. The parties came together on the presidential and vice presidential election, but are keen to take the unity further in raising issues in Parliament.
Both Houses of Parliament will take up obituary references on Monday and may not transact business due to the death of some sitting members.
Two Rajya Sabha members - former Union minister Anil Madhav Dave and Congress member Palvai Govardhan Reddy – died during the interregnum period after the budget session while sitting Gurdaspur Lok Sabha member Vinod Khanna also died during that period.
A structured meeting within the Congress on the party’s strategy in the coming session is slated on Monday, when the session is unlikely to transact much business due to the presidential election.
Another joint meeting of Opposition leaders is slated the next day for putting in place their strategy for the session.
“The government would want the monsoon session of Parliament to be fruitful and constructive. We will also ensure good coordination and communication with the opposition to help get legislative business passed during the session.
“If the opposition demands a discussion on some current issues, we will discuss the same in the business advisory committee and the chairman will decide the time and date of discussion,” Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Issues like the flood situation particularly in Assam and other northeastern states, violence over Gorkhaland, fallout of demonetisation, job losses and disinvestment of PSUs are also likely to be raised.
The prime minister’s first-ever visit to Israel is also likely to figure for discussion in the coming session.
A lot of legislative business is lined up by the government in this session, which includes the ‘The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, ‘The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, ‘The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ in the Lok Sabha.
Besides, ‘The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Bill, 2017’ and ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, ‘The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, ‘The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017’, are also lined up for passage in the Lok Sabha.
The government in Rajya Sabha has also lined up a number of legislations for consideration and passage. These include the Constitution amendment bill on national backward commission, the labour code bill, the extension of GST in Jammu and Kashmir bill, the banking resolution bill and ‘The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017, among others.
The government has also listed ‘The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 for consideration and passage, which has been pending in Rajya Sabha for sometime now.