Speaker Sumitra Mahajan wants smooth Lok Sabha session

Appeals to parties not to disrupt proceedings, but TDP refuses to commit itself.

January 30, 2019 10:10 pm | Updated January 31, 2019 10:28 am IST - New Delhi

Sumitra Mahajan

Sumitra Mahajan

Ahead of the last Parliament session of the Narendra Modi government, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan appealed to all parties to ensure that it remained without disruptions. The AIADMK has agreed to halt its protests on the Mekadatu Dam while the Telugu Desam Party, which has been agitating for special status for Andhra Pradesh, refused to make any commitments.

The session begins on Thursday and will go on till February 13.

By all indications, the Opposition is ready to corner the government on farmer’s distress and also on expected policy announcements in the interim budget. According to sources, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told members that the session should be made memorable and everyone should be given time to speak without disruptions.

Congress position

The agenda for Thursday’s Parliament proceedings has said that the government will present interim budget.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said if a full-fledged Budget was presented or any policy decisions announced, his party would stridently oppose it.

Congress position drew support from across the parties. “The normal practice is that the outgoing government presents a vote on account for the next four months. The agenda for tomorrow mentions that interim budget will be presented. But if the government is to announce major policy decision it will be breaking the convention and we shall oppose it,” BJD floor leader B Mahtab said.

The Trinamool Congress leader Audio Bandhopadhyay raised the issue if use of investigating agencies such as CBI in the opposition parties. “Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah are using CBI against Bengal we will condemn this strongly, “ He said.

The AIADMK who stalled the Winter Session over protests on Union government’s in-principle nod for Mekadatu Dam on Cauvery have assured that they will not continue with their agitation. “Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Water Resources has assured us that the government will not allow Karnataka to construct the dam in Mekadatu. Also, we have many other issues to raise including the rehabilitation following Gaja cyclone,” AIADMK floor leader Venugopal Ponnusamy told The Hindu . The Telugu Desam Party said that the government had not delivered on its promises for Andhra Pradesh so their protests would continue. “We will not storm the well of the house. But we will continue standing on our seat as part of the protest,” TDP floor leader Thota Narsimhan said.

As of now there are no indications from the government on whether it will introduce any new legislation in Lok Sabha. There were demands across the parties that the government should bring in the Women’s Reservation Bill that is pending in Lok Sabha. “Since there is consensus across the parties on the issue there is no reason why the government should not get the women’s reservation bill,” Mr Mahtab added.

The Congress and other opposition parties have also demanded that there should be a discussion on farmer’s distress.

The government will present its agenda for the session in Thursday’s all party meeting called by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has also called for meeting of all floor leaders on Thursday morning at 10.30 a.m. Two of Modi government’s important bills — the Triple Talaq bill and the Citizenship bill — are pending in the Rajya Sabha. Both bills face stiff opposition and the numbers are stacked against the government.

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