Congress for joint nominee for RS Deputy Chairman post

A view of the Parliament House building in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Opposition parties should field a joint candidate for the post of Deputy Chairman of the Rayja Sabha, the Congress decided after a virtual meeting of its parliamentary strategy group (PSG) on Tuesday. 

The meeting, presided over by party president Sonia Gandhi, comes ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament that gets under way on September 14. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad is authorised to hold talks with other Opposition parties on the issue.

The Congress also decided to demand full-length debates on the border hostility with China and the situation in Ladakh, the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, collapse of the economy because of the nationwide lockdown and the contraction of the GDP by 23.9 per cent.

The post of Deputy Chairman fell vacant after Janata Dal (United) member Harivansh finished his term in April.

To approach DMK?

The Congress is likely to approach the DMK to put up a candidate.

The process of choosing a new Deputy Chairman got delayed because of COVID-19 and now the last date for filing the nomination is September 11. Polling is to be held on September 14. 

Other issues that were discussed at the Congress meet included the restoration of Question Hour, the Centre’s failure to meet its GST obligation toward the States, the proposed environment impact assessment (EIA) and ordinances, including one related to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

A joint meeting with other Opposition parties ahead of the monsoon session is being planned for better floor coordination.

This was the first time that some of the letter writers, who had demanded an overhaul of the party, came face to face with the leadership after the meeting.

Attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr. Azad, his deputy in the Upper House Anand Sharma, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the meeting discussed in detail on how the Congress should articulate its position on the government’s ‘mishandling’ of China.

Truth must come out: Sonia

Ms. Gandhi is learnt to have said that truth about Chinese incursions must be spoken and it must come out.

While Mr. Chowdhury talked about asking for a white paper from the government on the Ladakh situation, Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari advocated a ‘nuanced approach’ since the Indian and Chinese troops are in an eyeball to eyeball situation.

While exposing the government’s “missteps”, Mr. Tewari argued, nothing should be done to lower the morale of the troops.

Calling the situation unprecedented since 1962, Mr. Sharma cited how former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had taken Parliament into confidence. 

Party general secretary K.C. Venugopal said the party should target China for its aggressive and expansionist stance.

Agreeing with Mr. Tewari that the Army is “sacrosanct”, Mr. Gandhi is learnt to have pointed out that the country had become vulnerable on multiple fronts – from COVID-19 to facing an economic recession to the border face-off – and the government needed to be questioned for its failures.

“Due to Modi Govt’s gross mismanagement of Covid: 1. India’s total cases world’s 2nd highest. 2. India’s weekend tally higher than US & Brazil put together. 3. On Sunday, India's share was 40% of total cases worldwide. 4. No flattening of curve. Stay safe everyone,” Mr. Gandhi said in a tweet.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 2:01:55 PM |

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