Congress to work with like-minded parties

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File

Ahead of the Budget session, the Parliamentary Strategy Group of the Congress virtually met on Friday and decided to work with like-minded parties to raise important issues such as the Omicron variant, alleged Chinese intrusion, inflation, the recent incidents of hate speeches and targeted violence against religious minorities. The virtual meeting, presided by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saw Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge identify several issues, including some that could not be taken up in the previous session.

Some of these key issues include disinvestment of Air India, a relief package for the families of COVID-19 victims, the downturn in the Indian economy among others.

Since the first part of the Budget session, that gets underway on January 31, will have about 10 working days and there will not be enough time for separate discussions on each issue, some of the concerns will be put forth by the Congress members in the Motion of Thanks to the presidential address.

Party leaders will also use Zero Hour — when an individual MP can raise any issue of public importance — to flag some of these concerns.

Ms. Gandhi is also learnt to have told the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, to ensure that the first speaker from the party or senior leaders don’t end up exhausting the time allotted to the party.

She is learnt to have pointed out that several members have complained to her about not getting adequate time in debates, a source said.

The strategy group also discussed reports of violence against Christians and their places of worship during Christmas from different parts of the country. Ms. Gandhi is then said to have informed her colleagues about receiving a letter from a senior party member from Karnataka about such attacks.

Apart from Ms. Gandhi, Mr. Kharge and Mr. Chowdhury, the strategy group includes senior party leaders A.K. Antony, K.C. Venugopal, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, K. Suresh, Manickam Tagore, Manish Tewari and Gaurav Gogoi.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also a member of the group but he did not attend Friday’s meeting.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 8:53:26 am |