The Congress today demanded that the Winter Session of Parliament be convened immediately to discuss key issues such as the effect of demonetisation, the GST and the Kashmir situation, and asked the government whether it was avoiding giving answers to these questions.
Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said the dates of the Winter Session, usually convened in the third week of November, were conveyed to MPs 15 days prior to the session but there was no sign of it happening this time.
He alleged that “curtailing” the session was “an assault on the Indian democratic tradition”.
“We would like to demand that the Winter Session be immediately convened. An Assembly election in one state or the other should not become an excuse for the government to run away from facing the Parliament,” he told reporters.
The Gujarat Assembly elections would be held on December 9 and 14 and the results declared on December 18.
The Congress leader said the party would like to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government if they were “scared of being raked over the hot coals of truth”.
He alleged that the BJP government had a “complete lack of respect” for institutions. He alleged that the manner in which probe and law enforcement agencies were unleashed on opposition leaders and “the government’s recalcitrance to finalise the memorandum of procedure which is holding judicial appointments to ransom” were examples of the same.
“What is it that the NDA-BJP government is so scared of that it is running away from convening the Parliament session?” the Congress leader asked.
He said burning issues loomed over the national horizon such as the analysis of one year of note ban and its impact on the Indian economy, the “completely failed” implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and the “failed policy” towards Pakistan and Dokalam.
The former Union minister said in 1950 the country’s founding fathers had set up India as a sovereign republic and the country was always very proud of its democratic tradition which was not disturbed.
He said it was “indeed unfortunate” that there was no sign of the Winter Session in a departure from tradition. He said the Congress would like to ask the government if there was a certain time-table for Parliament.
“Why is it that the current NDA-BJP government is not convening the Winter Session? We would like to ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi–has the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs met,” he asked.
“What is the recommendation that Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has made? And if it has not met then why not. What is the NDA-BJP government so scared of that it is running away from convening the session?” he alleged.
Asked if the government was curtailing the Parliament sessions or encroaching upon the rights of the opposition, Tewari alleged, “It is an assault on the Indian democratic tradition.”
To another question on whether the Congress was planning to approach the president or take up the issue with the government, he said, “If the government still does not listen, then all democratic options are open. Whatever needs to be done to ensure that the functioning of Parliament is not subverted, would be done.
“Under no circumstances, would we allow the erosion of institutions which has become the sine qua non (an essential condition) of this government,” he alleged.