Monsoon Session in Parliament: An all-party meeting was called at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence in Delhi on Sunday. During the meeting, leaders of various opposition parties on Sunday demanded that the issues of price rise, ‘Agneepath’ scheme as well as alleged misuse of investigative agencies be taken up in Parliament. The party also objected to the list of “unparliamentary words”.
Sources said the leaders unanimously called for a discussion on key issues like price rise and the state of the economy during the session beginning Monday, agreeing to their demand for immediate withdrawal of the Agneepath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the government is ready to discuss all issues as per the rules and procedures of Parliament.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge asked how the 32 bills prepared by the government would be passed in Parliament in 14 days and asked, “What is the government trying to do?”
“We raised 13 issues including price rise, Agneepath, attack on the federal structure of the country and misuse of investigative agencies like ED and CBI,” Kharge told reporters after the meeting.
Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Jairam Ramesh, DMK’s TR Balu and Tiruchi Siva, TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay and NCP’s Sharad Pawar, besides BJD’s Pinaki Mishra, YSRCP’s Vijayasai Reddy, TRS’s Keshav Rao, almost all of RJD’s leaders of parties. AD Singh and Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena were present.
The government was represented by Union Minister Rajnath Singh, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha, his cabinet colleague and Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.
“Today, in the all-party meeting, several political parties, including those supporting the NDA, pointed out the contradiction in the Modi government by claiming credit for their presidential candidate on the one hand and scrapping the Forest Rights Act, 2006 on the other. Congress’s Jairam Ramesh tweeted after the meeting.
He had earlier strongly objected to the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the all-party meeting to discuss issues coming up in Parliament.
IUML leader ET Mohammad Bashir said that every opposition party raised the controversy over words listed in Agneepath, price hike and a new booklet by the Lok Sabha Secretariat that would be deemed “unparliamentary”.
BJD leader Pinaki Mishra backed Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on the issue, saying he was “wrongly targeted” as listing such words has been a regular practice in Parliament.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader also pressed for passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill besides demanding a Legislative Council for Odisha, where the party has been in power for several years.
AIADMK leader M Thambidurai said, “The time has come for us to insist that the government should bring the Women’s Reservation Bill.” DMK’s TR Baalu and AIADMK’s Thambidurai also raised the Sri Lankan crisis and said that India should intervene to resolve the issue. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, however, hit out at the opposition and accused them of insulting Parliament by making non-issues an issue.
He said the opposition is doing this as it has nothing against the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership is being recognized in the country as well as abroad.
Condemning the opposition for creating controversy over the unparliamentary words and circulars issued regularly for the past several years, he said such a practice was going on since 1954, when the first such list was brought out, and the opposition did so. because it was devoid of any issue against the government.
Joshi claimed that the government was “doing a good job” and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership was recognized by people not only within India but also abroad.
On controversy over unparliamentary words, he said, “Opposition is trying to create issues from non-issues as they have nothing against the government. It is trying to malign the image of Parliament.”
“Actually there is no major issue against the government as it is working well under the leadership of PM Modi and it is being appreciated in the May elections,” he said.
Joshi said that in the previous years, the presiding officers had also issued such a list of unparliamentary words, but the opposition did not take it up. He said that on the demands made in Parliament, the words are removed and the Speaker takes the final decision.
“The use of any word has not been banned in Parliament and the Lok Sabha Secretariat has been coming out with such a list of unparliamentary words since 1954,” Joshi said. list.
Similarly, he said a general circular was issued by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat on no dharnas and protests in Parliament, but the opposition raised it as if it was something new. He said that such circulars are issued before every session. On criticism of the Prime Minister’s absence in the meeting, he said Congress leader Jairam Ramesh raised the issue.
“The prime minister never attended all-party meetings before 2014, when the Congress was in power.
“It was their good gesture to do so since 2014. They are trying to make an issue which is non-issue. Our senior colleague Rajnath Singh and Deputy Leader of the House presided over the meeting,” he said.
Asked about the opposition’s demand on the Agneepath scheme, Joshi said, “We are ready to discuss all issues under the rules and procedures of Parliament.” He also said that the government will hold an all-party meeting on the situation in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, which will be chaired by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar.
(with inputs from PTI)