The battlelines are drawn and the government and the Opposition are gearing up for a stormy Monsoon Session of Parliament which starts today.
Ahead of the session, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said today that the government is ready to debate all the issues in Parliament.
“We hope that this session will be productive and constructive. The government is ready to debate, discuss all issues in Parliament,” Dr Singh said.
The Opposition is armed with a host of issues like the scam probes, black money and price rise. But the government too is putting up a brave front.
“Let the Prime Minister use all his fire power. Let the session start and we will see who has what to say,” BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said on the eve of the Monsoon Session.
The NDA wants to raise the 2G scam afresh after former telecom minister A Raja tried to drag in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
But the Prime Minister sought to take the sting out of the Opposition’s attack on the issue, saying Parliament should not “pre-judge” the matter and let the courts decide.
In its defence, the UPA has the 16,000-crore mining scam in Karnataka and the land allotment scam in NDA-ruled Bihar in its armour.
“They have nothing to say, they curtailed the Budget Session. The Monsoon Sessions was supposed to start in July, they are starting in August,” Sushma Swaraj said.
As the two sides battle it out, the Lok Sabha Speaker tried to ensure that Parliament functions smoothly in the Monsoon Session.
The session is crucial as nearly 80 bills are to be introduced for discussions.
But the government’s emphasis is on anti-corruption bills like the Lokpal bill, the current form of which has been slammed by the civil society activists led by Anna Hazare.
Mr Hazare has already made it clear that the Prime Minister and higher judiciary should come under the ambit of the Lokpal bill, failing which he will resume fast on August 16.
“As you know, we are ready with the Lokpal Bill. Lokpal Bill’s fate will be decided by Parliament. In a democracy, Parliament is a sovereign body, it should be allowed to function and discharge its duty,” said the Prime Minister.
The judicial accountability bill is also in the pipeline for which the government has kept the judiciary out of Lokpal Bill.
The Opposition also wants to debate the Black Money issue, price rise, unrest over demand for Telangana statehood, farmers’ protest over land acquisition, and the mismanagement of Air India.
From Anna Hazare’s threat to go on an indefinite fast, to mounting pressure from Telangana MPs, to facing a united Opposition that wants to keep the government under pressure over corruption issues, the Monsoon Session of Parliament will surely test the government’s political management skills. NDTV