With the Opposition parties on the Right and Left of the political spectrum gearing themselves up to put the government on the mat on several issues of corruption — the latest being the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai — the 35-day winter session of Parliament could become a political wrestling arena.
When the session begins on Tuesday (November 9), it will be the last day of the visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, who will address a joint sitting of both Houses the previous evening. By then, the Opposition will become more than keen on getting the scalp of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who has already offered to resign over the housing society scandal.
“As always, we will be willing to discuss all issues under the rules of parliamentary procedure,” Minister for Parliamentary Affairs P.K. Bansal said here on Wednesday. Earlier, he presided over a meeting of government Secretaries to help identify legislation that would be ready for introduction.
Twenty-two Bills have been listed for introduction and nine for consideration and passage.
Among the important measures to be passed are the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill.
Several other pieces of legislation have been routinely listed including the Bill to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies for women, but there is no hint that this legislation, already passed by the Rajya Sabha, will be taken up. On the other hand, two other Constitution Amendment Bills to give 50 per cent representation to women in panchayats and urban local bodies could come up as these are not mired in any political controversy.
While cornering the government corruption would on the top of the Opposition agenda, the Bihar Assembly elections are also expected to generate heat, as the Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to do well along with its ally, Janata Dal (United).
The BJP may be wary of its foes bringing up the issue of alleged RSS links with terror, but the Left may not shy away from this subject. With RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat threatening to sit in protest in Lucknow on November 10, the issue could come up in Parliament.