The Congress and some other Opposition parties will oppose four Bills, including three farm-related ones that are to replace ordinances, and demand that these be sent to the select committee of Rajya Sabha. The party will also insist on discussions on the military standoff with China, government’s handling of the pandemic and the state of the economy.
The CPM said it will oppose all 11 ordinances promulgated during the lockdown. Its members have moved notice for statutory resolutions opposing these ordinances and demanding their withdrawal in both Houses of Parliament.
At Business Advisory Committee meetings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Congress’s floor leaders demanded detailed discussions on several issues. The Business Advisory Committee of Lok Sabha will meet again Tuesday to decide on the Opposition’s demand, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
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Congress’s chief whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh told reporters Sunday that the Congress has discussed with other Opposition parties the stand to be adopted on the ordinances. He said there is consensus to oppose The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill as Opposition parties feel these legislation are against federal principles. The Congress, he said, will support the seven other Bills to replace ordinances but will convey its objections and reservations on certain aspects.
“The Opposition parties, like-minded parties are opposed to the three Agri ordinances and to the Banking Regulation Act Ordinance… There will be widespread support for the Congress party’s stand… We will make every effort to get these ordinances referred to the Select Committee,” he said.
He said that besides the standoff with China, GDP contraction and the government’s handling of Covid-19, the Opposition wants discussions on the draft Environment Impact Assessment notification and privatisation of airports.
Ramesh said the government cannot oppose a discussion on the standoff with China, citing national security. “In November 1962, when India and China were at war, Parliament was meeting… the then Prime Minister was sitting in the Lok Sabha, listening to criticism of his own policies from senior parliamentarians including A B Vajpayee. It is ridiculous to say that there should not be any discussion on China…We are responsible political parties; we know what to say and what not to say.”
“The greatest damage to our cause has been done by the Prime Minister’s own statement. He owes an explanation, why did he make that statement and that statement has single handedly weakened India’s case and the status quo ante on the LAC has not been restored,” he added.
Ramesh said the Congress will also raise the issue of transparency in PM CARES Fund. “We will demand that if PM CARES has to stay, it must be made transparent.”
The Congress backs the Bill to cut salaries of MPs for a year as an austerity measure, but would question the government moving ahead with the Central Vista project at this time and oppose suspension of MPLADS funding, he said.