An all-party meeting ahead of the winter session of Parliament, set to begin Wednesday, was held in the Parliament Library Building in New Delhi Tuesday. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP T R Baalu and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal among others were present at the meeting, news agency ANI reported.
The Centre is planning to introduce 16 Bills during the session, according to PTI.
Price rise, unemployment and the situation at the Sino-India border were among the issues Opposition parties demanded discussions on during the all-party meeting.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “There are so many issues before the country, such as unemployment and price rise, and the government owes an answer to the people.”
Chowdhury alleged that the government did not “properly” inform the Opposition about the stand-off at the Sino-India border. “In the House, we demand a discussion on it and also on the killings of Kashmiri Pandits,” he added, PTI reported.
Congress leader Naseer Hussain demanded discussions on the appointment of the Election Commissioner in just one day and the Economically Weaker Section quota.
Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said he, along with party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, sought discussions on price rise, unemployment, alleged misuse of agencies and economic blockade of states. O’Brien also told the government that the Opposition should be allowed to raise issues of importance.
The Congress is likely to corner the government over a host of issues during the session, including the situation on India’s border with China. Outlining the issues that the Congress will raise, party general secretary Jairam Ramesh had said last week that the party would raise matters relating to the economic situation in the country, “weakening” of constitutional institutions, and reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
“There is tension between India and China for the last 22 months and there has been no discussion in Parliament on the issue. The Congress would want that the issue be discussed in Parliament,” he added.
A day after the session commences, the results for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will be announced. The outcome is likely to have a bearing on the proceedings, whichever way the verdict goes, as parties may use it to corner rivals.
The winter session is also likely to be the last in the existing Parliament House. The next session, the Budget session, is likely to be held in the new Parliament building.
The winter session will be held from December 7 to December 29, with 17 sittings spread over 23 days.
(With inputs from agencies)