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Opposition reunites against Parliament session extension

Congress members in the Lok Sabha on July 23, 2019. Photo: LSTV/PTI

Congress members in the Lok Sabha on July 23, 2019. Photo: LSTV/PTI  

The Congress has reached out to all the Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha for the first time in this Lok Sabha session to ensure a unified strategy to oppose several issues, including the Centre’s intention to extend the current session of Parliament by 10 days till August 9. The Opposition camp has called a joint meeting for Wednesday afternoon.

“We strongly oppose the government’s intent to extend the house in Monday’s business advisory meeting,” said Kodikunnil Suresh, Congress’s Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha. “The Speaker is also not in a mood but the government is pressurising him. The session has been going on for more than a month now, we have been completely disconnected from our constituencies,” he added.

Observing that most legislations listed by the government had been pending from the previous Lok Sabha, Opposition members questioned the urgency to clear the Bills.

Trump’s Kashmir offer

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate in the Kashmir issue evoked strong criticism from the opposition camp. “We are ready to trust our PM, we are not saying that he is lying,” said Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha. “But since the world has heard the U.S. President speaking to the Pakistan Prime Minister, we want that our Prime Minister come to the house and tell us the truth,” he said.

For the last 70 years India has maintained that the Kashmir problem could only be sorted out bilaterally, without intervention from any other third country, he said.

Meanwhile, Opposition leaders from the Rajya Sabha met twice and planned to hold a joint opposition meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The Opposition also staged a walk out in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the issue.

After the morning meeting, a delegation of opposition leaders led by Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, addressed a press conference. Mr. Trump’s comments clearly undermined the Lahore declaration, he asserted. “We are ready to trust our PM, we are not saying that he is lying,” Mr. Azad said. “But since the world has heard the U.S. President speaking to the Pakistan Prime Minister, we want that our Prime Minister come to the house and tell us the truth,” he told reporters.

Wednesday’s meeting has also been called to deliberate on the government’s intention to extend the current session of Parliament by 10 days till August 9. So far there has been no official communication from the government to the opposition on the issue.

“We strongly opposed the government’s intent to extend the house in Monday’s business advisory meeting,” said Congress’s Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha, Kodikunnil Suresh. “The Speaker is also not in a mood but the government is pressurising him. The session has been going on for more than a month now, we have been completely disconnected from our constituencies,” he added.

Observing that most of the legislations listed by the government had been pending from the previous Lok Sabha, opposition members questioned the urgency to clear the Bills.

The Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien asserted on Twitter that the current session had shown the government’s intention was to move towards a presidential system. “Judging by what one has seen in the last one month in Parliament. Intentions apparent: they want to move from a parliamentary democracy to a presidential form of government. We will fight for our Constitution,” he tweeted.

So far, 13 Bills have been cleared by the Parliament in this session.

“With every passing day, rule after rule, convention after convention, is blatantly broken in Parliament,” Mr. O’Brien had tweeted on Monday.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 4:10:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-reunites-against-parliament-session-extension/article28691985.ece

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