What is the agenda for Special Session of Parliament, INDIA parties ask govt.

Sonia Gandhi to write to PM seeking a debate on the continuing violence in Manipur, price rise, unemployment and Chinese transgressions

Updated - September 06, 2023 08:10 am IST

Published - September 05, 2023 11:21 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress president Mallikarjun kharge holding a meeting with leaders of Opposition parties to discuss the strategy for the upcoming special session of Parliament, in New Delhi on September 5, 2023.

Congress president Mallikarjun kharge holding a meeting with leaders of Opposition parties to discuss the strategy for the upcoming special session of Parliament, in New Delhi on September 5, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Opposition parties belonging to the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) on September 5 demanded that the Modi government spell out the agenda for the Special Session of Parliament even as the Congress decided that parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issues that the principal Opposition party wants to raise during the session.

The Parliamentary Strategy Group of the Congress, which met at Ms. Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence, decided that she will ask the government to have a debate on the continuing violence in Manipur, price rise, unemployment, Chinese transgressions among others, during the five-day special session of Parliament that begins on September 18.

Ms. Gandhi’s letter will be on behalf of the 24 Opposition parties that are part of the INDIA bloc, which will take part in the special session.

The Congress meeting was followed by a meeting of the floor leaders of the INDIA parties at the official residence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, to formulate a common strategy for the session.

“Modi Govt is convening a special session of Parliament for the first time without spelling out the agenda. No one from any Opposition party has been consulted or informed. This is not the way to run a democracy,” Mr. Kharge posted on social media platform X, soon after the meeting of floor leaders of INDIA bloc got over.

“Everyday, Modi Govt plants a story in the media of a prospective ‘agenda’, thereby creating a smokescreen of diversion from real issues burdening the people...,” he added.

At the Congress strategy meet, the issue of ‘one nation one election’, the Republic of India being referred to “Republic of Bharat” in a G-20 official invite and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comment regarding Sanatana Dharma were discussed.

Multiple issues

Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Singhvi are learnt to have briefed party colleagues on the legal aspects on both the issues: simultaneous polls and the change of name.

On the issue of Sanatana Dharma, the Congress decided to stick to its line of sarva dharma sambhava or respecting all religions, said a source. Other issues such as inflation and unemployment, fresh charges against the Adani group, communal violence in Nuh (Haryana), CAG reports, extensive damage caused by the floods in Himachal Pradesh and the North-East also came up as issues that should be taken up in the special session.

There could be a renewed demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe against the Adani Group.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the Parliamentary bulletin that lists out the agenda merely mentioned “government business” for all five days. “We are not going to sit only for Modi chalisa [prayer]. We will surely demand from the government and try and raise our issues in every session,” Mr. Ramesh told reporters after the Congress meeting.

“We hope that the Opposition will also get an opportunity to raise their issues which are of concern to the people. Our demand is that there should be discussion on those issues and with this sentiment we would participate in this special session,” he said.

Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’ Brien asked, “Where is the agenda for the session? Why is it being kept secret? This is is not how Parliamentary democracies work.”

(With inputs from Sobhana K. Nair)

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