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Monsoon Session: Opposition to bring no-confidence motion

July 17, 2018 21:53 IST

IMAGE: Opposition party leaders after a meeting in the Parliament Library, ahead of the Monsoon Session. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo

The Congress on Tuesday said a number of opposition parties will collectively give a notice for a no-confidence motion against the Modi government in Parliament's Monsoon Session.

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said several parties agreed during a meeting of opposition leaders on Monday to work together to bring a no-confidence motion against the government.

The Monsoon Session begins on Wednesday and will end on August 10. It will have 18 sittings.

"Around 12 opposition parties held a meeting on Monday where they agreed for collectively bringing a vote of no-confidence against the government in the Monsoon Session," he said at a press conference.


Sources said that the Congress was working to move the motion on Wednesday and is in the process of filing a notice in this regard.

Kharge said opposition parties will demand grant of special status to Andhra Pradesh, apart from raising issues such as lynchings, atrocities against women and Dalits and dilution of a law meant for SCs.

He said that attempts to abolish reservation policy and the falling value of the Rupee will be also be raised in the session.

The Congress has drafted a list of issues to be made part of the motion. This includes mob lynchings, unemployment, farmers distress, women safety, alleged tampering of EVMs, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the government's foreign policy.

The Telugu Desam Party had moved a no-confidence motion during the last session and has sought the support of other parties for it.

It has asked for inclusion of its no-trust motion in the list of business on Wednesday.

Kharge also accused the government of corruption during demonetisation, alleging that there was a scam in the Ahmedabad District Co-Operative bank that accepted over Rs 750 crore in five days during demonetisation.

The government should give answers on how this happened, he demanded.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that opposition parties have also discussed the need to do away with the use of EVMs as people do not have trust in its efficacy and revert to the old system of ballot.

"We have no confidence left in the polling process. We must revert to the old system of ballot," he told reporters.

The Congress leader also alleged that the government was compromising the autonomy of the Lok Sabha TV and the Rajya Sabha TV as this was never done before and will be raised in Parliament.

While the government has claimed that the opposition has assured them of their cooperation to ensure smooth functioning of both Houses of Parliament, opposition parties have voiced their concerns during the interaction with the government.

Kharge also read out some 'common issues' finalised by opposition parties and said it was the responsibility of the government to take the opposition into confidence.

The issues to be raised by them are those of public importance and alleged that the ruling party has 'no will to run the house', Azad said.

"They (the government) do not have answers to our questions and an atmosphere is being created to blame the opposition parties for the disruption of the House," he said.


PM seeks cooperation of all parties for smooth functioning of Parliament

Ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought cooperation of all political parties and asked them to ensure that it turns out to be a productive session.

Addressing a meeting of leaders of various parties in Parliament House, the prime minister hoped that each one of them would raise issues of public importance in the larger interest of the country.

While the government has claimed that the Opposition has assured them of their cooperation to ensure smooth functioning of both Houses of Parliament, opposition parties have voiced their concerns during the interaction with the government.

"The prime minister today sought the cooperation of all political parties for the smooth functioning of Parliament and a productive session. People of India want Parliament to function...

"The entire country expects and hopes the Parliament will function and debate over issues of national interest," Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.

He said Modi told the meeting that the government accords importance to issues raised by all political parties and urged them to collectively strive to create a constructive atmosphere in the session to achieve national good.

The prime minister expressed confidence that all political parties would cooperate in the smooth running of Parliament and undertake constructive discussions on issues of national importance.

Kumar said the government called for cooperation from all parties in the country's interest.

According to the minister, there was a cordial atmosphere in the meeting and all parties were in favour of a productive Monsoon Session.

The government, he said, is always ready to hold discussions on the floor of the House on any issue as permitted under rules.

"The government will leave no stone unturned to facilitate smooth functioning of Parliament during the ensuing Monsoon Session," he said, claiming there was a consensus among parties to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament without disruptions.

He said deadlock should be resolved through constructive discussions in both the Houses.

Opposition parties raised a number of issues during the meeting. These include the issue of ending reservation for SCs/STs in appointments in higher education and bringing a law for stopping lynchings in the country as per directive of the Supreme Court.

"We will not allow the House to function till an assurance is given by the government on the floor of the House on reservation to SCs and STs in higher education," said Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav.

The government, he charged, is ignoring the OBCs and SC/STs in appointments in higher education institutes. It is not giving what is due to the people from the lower section of society, he said.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh raised the issue of alleged discrimination by the Centre against the Delhi government and hoped the prime minister will address the issue.

"The Delhi government is not being allowed to function and attempts are being made that LG should run the national capital. Injustice is being done to the national capital," he said.

Kumar said the Monsoon Session of Parliament will end on August 10 and will have a total of 18 sittings spread over a period of 24 days.

He said 46 bills will be taken up during the session.


If Budget Session trends go unchecked, it may prove lethal to constitutional democracy: Opposition to speaker

Leaders of opposition parties wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, saying the trends that emerged during the Budget Session of Parliament might prove lethal to the country's constitutional democracy if left unchecked.

They also accused the ruling party of denigrating rules and the Constitution which lowered the dignity of Parliament and the Chair and asked the speaker whether she had also written to the leader of the house, who is the prime minister, asking him to put a full stop on such 'subversion'.

Mahajan had last week written to opposition parties expressing concern over the frequent disruptions in Parliament and asked them to introspect while ensuring that the dignity of Parliament was not undermined.

She had also sought their cooperation, stating that divergence of opinion and dissent should be within the established norms.

They claimed that 'utter disregard' was displayed towards the rules and the Constitution during the Budget Session, which saw a virtual washout, and expressed concern over the the manner in which the no confidence motion against the government was handled.

'...The Budget Session was witness to another trend which, to say the least, will prove to be lethal to our Constitutional democracy, if not checked,' the opposition leaders said.

The letter was signed by various opposition leaders in the Lok Sabha, including those from the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Samajwadi Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Indian Union Muslim League, the Communist Party of India, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and some other parties.

The signatories include Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, CPI-M leader Mohammed Salim, SP leader Dharmendra Yadav, Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia, Tariq Anwar, AAP leader Bhagwant Mann and CPI leader C N Jayadevan.

They also pointed to the manner in which the government got the budget passed, alleging that it was done 'without any debate or discussion', pushing inadmissable amendments to the finance bill without the world knowing what was happening.

'The utter disregard to the rules and the Constitution displayed by the ruling dispensation did not add to the glory of the Chair and the House. We have seen how, day after day, for thirteen consecutive days the House of People was not even allowed to decide on the admissibility of the no-confidence motion.

'For all your concern for the image of our Parliament globally, this ignominious chapter in the history of Indian Parliament has no precedent world over,' the leaders claimed in the letter.

They claimed that the media had made uncharitable comments about the the role of the Chair in this entire episode.

'Any aspersion cast on the Chair reflects poorly on the members of that House as well. And we are not prepared for this kind of reflected glory,' they said.

Pointing to the manner in which the no-confidence motion was dealt with, the leaders said as the concept of 'no confidence' flowed from Article 75(3) of the Constitution, it was the reason why the Rule 198 of Lok Sabha rules did not vest any discretionary powers with the speaker as far as admissibility of the motion was concerned.

They said once 50 members stood in favour of the motion sought to be moved, the speaker had to announce that the House had granted leave (permission) for no confidence motion to be taken up.

'The speaker has no discretion. It is the House which decides admissibility,' they said, adding that Rule 378 of Lok Sabha rules gave full powers to the speaker to ensure order in the House.

'Yet, we were all witness to the disastrous manner in which the notices given by parties were dealt with...,' they said.

'You rightly called for introspection and advised us not to quote from the past to justify disruptions. The opposition has been very decent and dignified in its conduct which is verifiable from the records of the House,' they said.

'Regrettably, it is the ruling party which is denigrating the rules and the Constitution thereby lowering the dignity of the House and the Chair,' alleged the opposition leaders in their letter.

They said given the stature and responsibility of the speaker, 'We are confident that you must have already addressed a communication specifically to the Leader of the House as well, asking him to put a full-stop to subversion of the rules and the Constitution.'

They said they had not so far not learnt about the existence of such a communication through media, as they did about the speaker's letter to them.

'In the end, we can't help but recall this age old saying in Sanskrit, 'And the spring is not far, for people to realise who is the real singer and the truth of what is being sung',' they letter said.

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