The Opposition wants to conduct discussions on key issues such as the farmers’ issues, fuel price hike and alleged Covid mismanagement amid the second wave, sources told CNN-News18 after the meeting at the Rajya Sabha Chairman’s residence of all party floor leaders. Meanwhile, ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, the government has convened an all-party meeting on Sunday, to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had called a meeting of floor leaders of different political parties on Saturday, to discuss ways to ensure smooth functioning of the Upper House during the session.
Parliamentary affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi is said to have informed the members that there were a total of 31 bills that were listed for passage in the upcoming monsoon session. He also told the leaders that the various issues concerning the Opposition would be discussed by the government, which was ready for debate on all issues on the condition that they refrain from agitation or holding the house ransom with constant disruptions.
Sources have said that the opposition leaders were not given a specific assurance on any particular issue that the government would take up on priority for discussion including the farmers’ protest. Farmers have been protesting in the national capital for more than 6 to 8 months, demanding a repeal of farm laws introduced by the Centre.
The specifics of what discussion would take place, whether it is calling attention motion or short-term duration discussion, would be discussed subsequently in the business advisory committee meeting that would take place when the session begins.
Smaller parties raised the issue that they get very limited time to make their point and that a bulk of the timing on any debate or discussion goes to parties with big numbers and those who have multiple speakers. The chairman is said to have assured the leaders that their concern will be taken care of and that he will try to give opportunity to parties with a smaller number of MPs in an appropriate manner.
Senior ministers in the government including deputy floor leader of the Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh; Parliamentary affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi; MOS Parliamentary affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal; and V Muraleedharan were present at the meeting, including Leader of House Piyush Goyal, as well.
Floor leaders of various political parties including Leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge; Deputy LOP Anand Sharma; Sharad Pawar; Prasanna Acharya; and Sanjay Raut were among the leaders were present in this meeting.
Ministers from the newly sworn-in cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who are members of the Rajya Sabha, were also in attendance; including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman; Foreign Minister S Jaishankar; Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav; Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan; Rail Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw; Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya; MSME minister Narayan Rane; MOS Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
The monsoon session of Parliament will get underway on July 19 and will go on till 13 August. While the government has listed several bills for passage, the Opposition will want to raise issues of urgent public importance including the rise of price of diesel and petrol; Covid mismanagement issues; the India-China issue, etc.