The Centre and Opposition looked headed for a confrontation over the destabilisation of Congress governments by the BJP in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh from day one of the Parliament session beginning on Monday.
While the Congress and other Opposition parties have given notices for discussions on this issue in both Houses, the government, which has not taken a clear line on the matter yet, may block them citing court proceedings.
“The issue of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand is sub judice. I don’t think it can be discussed until April 27,” Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said while talking to reporters after presiding over an all-party meeting on the eve of the second half of the Budget session.
Sources said that she did not take this line at the meeting, when the issue came up.
Those present at the meeting included Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), P Venugopal (AIADMK), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), A P Jithender Reddy (TRS), Tariq Anwar (NCP) and Ram Chandra Paswan (LJP). The government was represented by Minister of State Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
The Supreme Court has stayed until April 27, the next date of hearing of the Centre’s appeal against the order of the Uttarakhand High Court that set aside the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
Kharge requested the Speaker to accept his party’s notice for the admission of an adjournment motion on Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh on Monday. He was supported by Jai Prakash Narain of the RJD. Mahtab said he too had given a notice for a short duration discussion on the arbitrary use of Article 356 of the Constitution for the removal of state governments.
Sources said Kharge told the meeting that he wanted to raise the Pathankot issue again — which had been debated during the last session — under Rule 195, which warrants a response from the government, but not a general discussion. Kharge also flagged the India-US Logistics Agreement for a debate.
Mahtab favoured a discussion on the Ishrat Jahan case affidavit controversy. Asaduddin Owaisi said if this matter was to be taken up, the functioning of the NIA too should be allowed to be discussed.
There was broad consensus on having a debate on the current drought and drinking water scarcity, which has hit 300 districts in the country.
Venugopal appealed to the government not to bring important Bills in view of the absence of members from the states, which were going through Assembly polls.