The stage is set for another stormy monsoon session of Parliament as the government and the opposition looked set to lock horns over a number of issues that has rattled the body politic in recent months.
The government’s discomfort will be compounded by the difficulty it is likely to face in pushing through legislative business, as “outside supporters” like SP and BSP can be expected to be guided by their intense political competition with Congress in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
The charges of lack of supervision of the prime minister in the sale of the2G spectrum, Telangana, Mumbai’s recent bomb blasts, the status of the India-US nuclear deal after the notification of new guidelines by theNuclear Suppliers Group, the Supreme Court’s observations on black money and the alleged bugging of the finance minister’s office and the perceived cold war among senior ministers are among a slew of issues the Opposition is expected to raise. All of this will likely pile up critical legislative business, as disruptions hit functioning in the last three sessions of Parliament.
“It is my sincere hope that this session of Parliament will be peaceful, will be productive,” Prime MinisterManmohan Singh said on Sunday. Responding to questions, he said Parliament will decide on the Lokpal Bill and that the 2G issue was in the courts and the house should not attempt to ‘pre judge’ the matter. “We are not afraid of discussing issues of corruption. The Opposition also has too many skeletons in its cupboard. We are not afraid of discussing any issue,” Singh added, setting the tone for the tumultuous political war of words ahead.
Sushma Swaraj, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, said a number of issues would be raised vigorously. “We would like the House to function so that the issues are discussed. The issue of price rise concerns the common man; the issue of corruption too is prevalent. The issue of internal security related to the Mumbai blasts is also there. The situation inTelangana has taken a big shape. Air India is in a bad shape, Naxalism is raising its fangs,” she said, enumerating the issues that will take centre-stage in the Houses in the coming days.
For the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, 37 bills have been listed for consideration and 33 have been listed for introduction. “In a normal session, Parliament passes 15-20 bills. However, the winter session was a washout and the budget session managed to pass just 5 bills. This has caused a pile up of legislative business,” said MR Madhavan of New Delhi-based think-tank PRS Legislative Research.
The more controversial among the bills listed for passing include, Seeds Bill, 2004, Copyright Amendment Bill (2010), and the Women’s Reservation Bill. Madhavan said there did not appear to be sufficient political consensus over the Women’s Reservation Bill and consequently it might not be taken up. High-profile bills listed for introduction include theNational Food Security Bill (2011) and the Lokpal Bill (2011). ET