NEW DELHI

Assembly all set for a stormy session

NEW DELHI NOV. 24. The crucial Winter Session of the Delhi Assembly beginning November 25 is expected to generate considerable heat with both the Congress and the BJP charging their powerhouses to take on each other. While the Congress would seek to corner the BJP on the issue of rising crime graph in the Capital, the BJP will seek to turn the heat on the ruling party on the issue of Metro Rail and relocation of industrial units from non-conforming areas.

Interestingly, this will be the last Winter Session of the present Assembly as elections are scheduled to be held in November next year making it impossible to hold another Winter session. In fact, the ruling party could face trouble within its ranks on the issue of new Excise Policy which some MLAs plan to raise during the session. But the most important issue, which is going to be the highlight of the session, is the discussion on law and order. The Congress is all geared up to corner the BJP and its Central Government on the deteriorating law and order situation especially the rising crime graph against women in the Capital.

The discussion will be led by the Deputy Speaker, Kiran Chaudhary and Arvinder Singh Lovely, who are expected to launch a broadside against the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Delhi police for failure to protect the life and property of the citizens. The sense of fear among Delhiites and the increased risk of venturing out alone for women would be the focus of the discussion which is expected to raise considerable heat. It would be an opportunity for the Congress Government to lash out at the Vajpayee Government and forcefully present a case for handing over the control of police to the Delhi Government. The Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, is also expected to intervene in the discussion and speak up for the insecurity among women.

Interestingly, the Delhi Assembly will be the new battleground for the two parties to fight it out on the issue of Delhi Metro Rail. The ruling party would again seek to highlight the fact that the Union Government had suppressed all its rights and had totally ignored the rightful claims of the Delhi Government on running the Metro Rail in Delhi. The Congress members are expected to raise the startling fact that what was stated in the draft Metro Railway (Operations and Maintenance) Bill 2002 sent to the Delhi Government has been completely altered in favour of Central Government in Ordinance issued on the issue later on. But here the ruling party could face embarrassing moments on the issue of supply of power to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The BJP is all prepared to raise the issue of some senior officials in the Sheila Dikshit Government joining hands to benefit the two private companies in the supply of power to DMRC for commercial operations. The onus would be on the Delhi Government to clarify its position as any siding with the private companies or adverse stand could project it as the main villain bent up ensuring profits for private power companies at the cost of the common man. Similarly, the Congress Government would come under a scanner on the issue of relocation of industrial units from non-conforming areas to the Bawana Industrial Estate. With the Supreme Court deadline of December 31 for closure of all industrial units in non-conforming areas approaching fast, the ruling party could find itself on the backfoot as it has failed to properly relocate these units or even ensure basic amenities to them at the new site. The Leader of the Opposition, Jagdish Mukhi and the BJP Chief Whip, Nand Kishore Garg, have already made their intentions very clear.

Not only this, the Chief Minister and her Chief Whip, Mangat Ram Singhal, would be faced with the tough task of managing some of the disgruntled MLAs who are bound to make things difficult for the ruling party. Mr.Singhal would be hard pressed to ensure not only proper floor coordination but also ensuring attendance of the MLAs in the House. During the Monsoon Session, the House had to be adjourned on a number of occasions due to lack of quorum showing the ruling party in poor light.