Govt Remains Non-committal on Farooq Abdullah's Detention in All-party Meet Ahead of Winter Session
The government has detained Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a law enacted by his father and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives for the all-party meeting ahead of the Winter Session on Sunday. (Twitter/@narendramodi)
New Delhi: Ahead of Parliament’s Winter Session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday assured at the all-party meeting that the government was ready to discuss all issues, while the opposition strongly raised Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah's detention and demanded that he be allowed to attend the House.
At the government-convened meeting, the Opposition demanded that the issues of economic slowdown, job loss and farm distress must be discussed during the session, Congress' leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
At the meeting attended by 27 parties, Prime Minister Modi said the most important job of the House is to discuss and debate, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters.
PM Modi said that this session should also be as productive as the last one, according to Joshi. "Government is ready to discuss all issues within the framework of rules and procedures of the Houses," Modi was quoted as saying.
Constructive discussion in Parliament also keeps the bureaucracy alert, the Prime Minister said at the meeting.
Opposition leaders raised the issue of Abdullah's detention and demanded that he be allowed to attend the session, but got no definite response from the government, sources said.
Farooq Abdullah's detention was raised at the all-party meet, National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi said, adding that the government is under constitutional obligation to ensure his participation in the Parliament session. "How can a parliamentarian be detained illegally? He should be allowed to attend Parliament," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
The government has detained Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a law enacted by his father and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister. Besides Modi, the all-party meeting was also attended by BJP chief Amit Shah and several senior opposition leaders.
"Abdullah is one of the senior-most MPs. Government is under constitutional obligation to ensure his participation in the session. Kashmir situation is the worst...we will raise this issue," National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi told reporters after the meeting. Abdullah is representing the people people of Srinagar and they can't be left without representation, he said.
Supporting the demand, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "How can a parliamentarian be detained illegally? He (Abdullah) should be allowed to attend Parliament."
Azad also said that former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram should be allowed to attend Parliament. He said there have been instances in past when in similar circumstances MPs have been allowed in the House.
"They want to pass bills without without scrutiny of the standing committees," Azad said.
"Unemployment, economic crisis, pollution ...we will raise issues connected to the common man. Already a number of members have raised the issue specially about the detention of Farooq Abdullah. He should be allowed to attend the discussion in the House," said Chowdhury.
The meeting was also attended by Union minister Thawarchand Gehlot, Chowdhury, Azad and deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma. TMC leader Derek O Brien, LJP leader Chirag Paswan and Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, Telugu Desam Party Jayadev Galla and V Vijaysai Reddy were among those present at the meeting.
The meeting was called by the government and moderated by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had on Saturday appealed to all political parties for cooperation for ensuring smooth functioning of the House. After an all-party meeting, which was also attended by PM Modi, the Speaker said floor leaders of different parties mentioned various issues that they wished to be discussed during the winter session, beginning November 18 till December 13.
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