NEW DELHI: Opposition parties of the INDIA alliance on Tuesday demanded that the government maintain transparency and not keep the country in the dark on the agenda of the special session of Parliament from September 18 to 22, even as they called for early passage of the women’s reservation bill. Sources said former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for early passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha during the upcoming session as the same has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha.
At a meeting, the opposition parties decided to move together in the upcoming session and also raise the Adani issue. They also decided to hold the first INDIA parties’ joint public rally in Madhya Pradesh and the next meeting in Bhopal. The leaders of several opposition parties, who attended the dinner meeting hosted by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge at his residence here, also discussed the strategy to be adopted during the upcoming session. Kharge said the Narendra Modi government is convening a special session of the Parliament for the first time without spelling out the agenda.
“No one from any opposition party has been consulted or informed. This is not the way to run a democracy,” he said after the meeting. “Everyday, this government plants a story in media of a prospective ‘agenda’, thereby creating a smokescreen of diversion from real issues burdening the people. The BJP wants to keep key issues like price rise, unemployment, Manipur, China’s transgressions, CAG reports, scams and weakening of institutions aside and cheat our people,” he noted.
“The INDIA parties discussed the way forward for the special session. We shall not be deterred in raising people’s issues, we intend to keep our focus on these. Let the BJP know — Bharat Judega, INDIA Jeetega,” Kharge said. After the meeting, Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi later told reporters that floor leaders of INDIA alliance parties in both Houses questioned why this special session is being convened and the government has not clarified on it yet.
He said 12 days later a special session of Parliament is being convened and the country does not know what is it is for. He also asserted that the leaders of INDIA parties have decided to keep their unity at any cost and noted that the saffron party was rattled over it. “We demand that the BJP should show transparency and tell the country what is the agenda of this special session. The INDIA alliance has agreed that we want a constructive session that could help in the progress of the country and is in its interest,” he told reporters.
He said to help resolve the problems before the country, we want a constructive session and the INDIA alliance will extend all support. Congress leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, Pramod Tiwari, Ravneet Bittu, besides Tiruchi Siva and T R Baalu of DMK, Supriya Sule of NCP, Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha of AAP, Sitaram Yechury of CPI-M, Manoj Jha of RJD, Mahua Majhi of JMM, Derek O’Brien of TMC, Binoy Viswam of CPI, Ram Gopal Yadav of SP, Vaiko of VCK, N K Premchandran of RSP, were present during the meeting.
Earlier, the Congress said it will constructively participate in the special session, but made it clear that it won’t sit there only for “Modi chalisa” and want that issues of public concern be also raised during the five-day sitting. The party’s stance was decided at a strategy group meeting chaired by Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Kharge, where leaders of the Congress in both Houses were also present. Accusing the government of keeping the country in the dark, the Congress also asked it to spell out the agenda of the special session.
Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh and Gogoi said the Parliament belonged to the country and the country was being kept in dark by the government. Noting that the government should be transparent, Gogoi said, “But this government is neither transparent, nor responsible”.
“What is the agenda, what are the issues,” he asked, while noting that the entire country is being kept in the dark.
Ramesh said it is for the first time that the government has not taken opposition parties into confidence and not discussed the agenda for the upcoming session. He asserted that it is impossible to have only government business during the five-day sitting while offering to participate in the proceedings of both Houses hoping that the dispensation will allow them to raise issues of public importance.
“We are not going to sit only for Modi chalisa. We will surely demand from the government and try and raise our issues in every session. But, we have not been getting an opportunity to raise them in the previous sessions. “Our demand would be that there should be discussion on those issues and with this sentiment we would participate in this special session,” Ramesh told reporters.
“This is the first time that to divert attention from the INDIA alliance partners, the prime minister and their alliance partners declare that there will be a five-day special session of Parliament,” he said. “It is impossible that for five days there is only government business. We want that during the special session of Parliament, along with economic and political issues, issues related to foreign policy and borders should also be discussed.
Gogoi said the special session has been announced, but the BJP itself is not able to decide the important issues.
“We discussed the instability that is still there in Manipur, people are still in camps, people are being killed; The news about Adani ji was recently published in Guardian and Financial Times. There should be an investigation on the Adani issue. Whether it is Nuh or in different provinces of the country, or instability in society, and the reason for which is only the divisive politics of BJP,” he said.
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