Govt. keeps its counsel, no climbdown by Oppn.

Speaker calls meet to discuss order in House

Updated - November 28, 2021 07:40 am IST

Published - July 29, 2015 11:24 am IST - New Delhi

The Modi government showed no signs of reaching out to the Opposition even on Wednesday to end the impasse in Parliament, eight days after the Monsoon Session began. But Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called an all-party meeting for Thursday, when the House will meet after a two-day break following the demise of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, The meeting’s objective is to improve the functioning of the Lower House.

Sources in Parliament said Ms. Mahajan had called the meeting not to “break the deadlock” in the House, which was the duty of the government.

Sources in the Congress and the Left parties said it was for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain in the House why his government was not acting against the Minister and the Chief Ministers charged with impropriety and corruption.

The government strategy thus far has been limited to countering aggression with aggression, accusing Congress leaders of corruption, while trying to isolate the Congress and the Left from the rest of the Opposition. The only likelihood of any work being done on Thursday is if the Opposition hears out the statement of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the Gurdaspur terror strike — and if that then provokes participation in a discussion.

The Speaker’s meeting comes in the wake of Congress members holding placards in the House, climaxing on Monday with Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, MP, climbing the podium of the Speaker’s dais and banging a placard on it.

Congress in no mood to relent

If the entire Opposition has been seeking the resignations of Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the Lalit Modi case and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in the Vyapam case, the Congress and the Left Parties have made it clear that they will not permit any discussion in Parliament until they are asked to step down.

The Congress says that when it was in power, at least three of its Ministers — Ashwini Kumar, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Shashi Tharoor — and one Chief Minister — Ashok Chavan — were forced out of office on the basis of allegations, not indictment.

On the second day of the Monsoon Session, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan warned the Opposition that she might be compelled to take disciplinary action against MPs who were disrupting the House over the Lalit Modi controversy. Congress MPs have meanwhile objected to the alleged blackout of the Opposition protests by Lok Sabha TV. They have complained that Lok Sabha TV broadcasts focus only on the Speaker, blacking out protests by Opposition members.

A meeting called on Tuesday by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to try and find common ground on objections to the Land Bill acquired a controversial note as an NDA ally, the Shiv Sena, attended it, along with the Congress, the Left parties, the TMC and the YSR Congress.

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