As the Lok Sabha enters the last leg of the current Monsoon session that has been seen several days of disruptions, Speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of leaders of all parties on Wednesday to discuss smooth conduct of the House.
The meeting assumes significance in the context of government’s plans to get the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill passed before the end of the session ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India in November this year.
Ms. Kumar, who also expressed deep disenchantment with the mock session held by opposition MPs notably RJD chief Lalu Prasad, SP leader Mulayam Singh and BJP leader Gopinath Munde, is expected to seek the cooperation of the parties to ensure smooth conduct of business in the remaining period of the session.
While the Rajya Sabha session has been extended by two days to August 31, there is no word on the Lok Sabha.
Both the Houses have been witnessing disruptions and adjournments for the day with opposition parties staging protests on one ground or the other.
Last week after failing to get the government to agree to their demand for getting their salaries on par with government Secretaries, the opposition forced adjournment of the House.
Later about 70 of their MPs held a mock session that invited a strong rebuke from the Speaker.
Even the BJP leadership was not amused by the fact that some of its MPs took part in it.
As the Parliament resumes tomorrow after a short break, some of the issues which could be discussed are the Nuclear Liability Bill, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, spurt in Maoist violence and other issues.
The opposition parties are crying foul after the Union Cabinet on Friday last cleared 18 amendments, including the one which deals with a clause on liability of a supplier in the event of a nuclear accident.
The controversial amendment to Clause 17 (B) makes it clear that an operator of a nuclear plant can seek damages only if an accident has occurred due to the “intent” of the supplier or its employees.
The BJP wants that the amended clause should be referred back to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The party has made it clear that it would be very difficult to support the bill unless the government relents and brings back the original proposed legislation.
The Left parties are also up in arms accusing the government of diluting the suppliers’ liability at the behest of the U.S.
The Rajya Sabha is expected to discuss the challenges posed by Maoists, insurgents and renewed violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
With the situation in the Kashmir Valley continuing to be worrisome, the opposition is expected to target the government for what it has been dubbing as pursuing a direction-less policy towards the sensitive state.