Ahead of Parliament's monsoon session, the ruling BJP-led NDA is confident of blunting the opposition's expected attack on the government over issues like the border row with China and the Centre's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it believes that a division among its rivals is likely to be visible during debates.
BJP sources pointed out as to how Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's aggression against the Modi government over the tense border situation has found "little" support from other opposition parties.
"The way the government has strongly defended the country's interests at the border is there for all to see. We are sure that the Congress will be isolated during any debate over the issue," a party leader said, claiming that even most non-NDA parties have backed the Modi dispensation over the issue. The uneasiness in the Congress, a BJP leader claimed referring to the group of 23 Congress leaders who have sought organisational overhaul, can come to fore in Parliament.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the DMK, are planning a joint offensive against the government to corner it in Parliament on issues of national security like the border situation with China, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, economy and GST compensation to states. The BJP will also be armed with its own set of charges against the opposition, especially the Congress, as the top party brass, including its president J P Nadda, has pursued the issue of alleged donations to foundations linked to the Gandhi family from the Chinese government.
While opposition parties are likely to highlight the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases in India to aim at the government, the ruling party leaders believe that the country's low fatality rate coupled with its relatively fewer cases per million population compared to other seriously-hit countries are points in their favour. A BJP leader noted that some of the worst hit states, like Maharashtra, are ruled by its rivals.
The National Democratic Alliance will also depend on the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package of Rs 1.70 lakh crore, which was announced by the government to help the more vulnerable sections of society to dean with financial impact of the nationwide lockdown, and Prime Minister Narenda Modi's announcement of free ration to over 80 crore people till November to highlight its "pro-people" sensibilities. The 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India) agenda is also likely to be a handy issue for the BJP to highlight the government's nationalist credentials.
The session begins from September 14 and will continue for 18 straight days till October 1. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in several changes, including no Question Hour, staggered seating arrangements and curtailment of hours allotted to daily businesses of both the Houses.