The monsoon session of the Parliament, expected to last 21 days, is supposed to be a hard-hitting affair with several critical issues up for discussion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already asked for the cooperation of the opposition parties and implored them to make better use of this particular session so that various issues can be discussed properly saying that it is the duty of all the parties to make sure that the monsoon session passes off well. This includes critical pieces of legislation such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill. Regarding the last one, the Prime Minister has asked for a nationwide consensus but to no avail as the opposition seems to be in no mood to make any compromise regarding the same. Modi asked them to move ahead regarding the bill, but it seems that his calls may have fallen on deaf ears.
An all-party meeting was called on 20th July. It was attended by the following leaders:
- Ghulam Nabi Azad from Congress
- Satish Mishra from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
- Ram Gopal Yadav from Samajwadi Party
- Sitaram Yechury from Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)
- Sharad Yadav from Janata Dal-United (JDU)
However, instead of providing any solution, it ended up in a deadlock. It is expected that the situation will be the same in the upcoming session of the Parliament as well. Controversial issues such as the Vyapam scam and the Lalit Modi issue would come up for discussion and the impasse would not be resolved. The monsoon session will end on 13th August.
Of late, there have been allegations that a minister and some government officers in Goa have been bribed by an international company. The BJP has promised that it will raise the issue in the Parliament and call for a CBI probe into the same. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, has stated that the government will use all the constructive suggestions by the opposition.
However, from the looks of it, the opposition seems to be in no mood to budge till its demands are met. The BJP leaders are aware that there could be problems during the upcoming session and as such they have been getting ready to face the music. On 19th July, Modi and Amit Shah, the President of the BJP, had a meeting with the ministers and party leaders. They also met the allies on 20th July.
This is expected to be one of the most important issues up for discussion in the upcoming monsoon session. It is expected that the opposition, led by Congress, will be calling for Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj to put down their papers. Both the leaders, prominent ones, are supposed to have links with Lalit Modi, who has previously served as the Chairman and Commissioner of Indian Premier League. The BJP has meanwhile swung to the defence of the leaders and said that it would go on all-out attack against any attempt by the opposition to taint the aforementioned figures.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, is at the centre of the storm that is the Vyapam scam. It is being expected that the BJP will stick to its stance that they have agreed to the opposition’s demand that there will be a CBI probe into the same. Previously, the Congress had asked the Indian judiciary to include Chouhan into the proceedings of the case only to meet rejection. As per a BJP leader, the party will use this fact during the upcoming session if the need arises. Chouhan has also received the support of Nirmala Sitharaman, the Commerce Minister, who said that he had done nothing wrong. The government is also supposed to be completely prepared in case there is a CBI inquiry into the same.
Demands for Resignation
Along with Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje, Smriti Irani is also under stress considering there are allegations that she has indulged in malpractice regarding an educational certificate. Congress has said that till the time these leaders resign, it will keep on disrupting the proceedings. The opposition parties will also ask Chouhan and Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, to resign. Incidentally, Raman Singh has recently been implicated in a rice scam.
At the all-party convention called by Venkaiah Naidu, the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister, this issue came up as well, only for the convenor to offer stern resistance to those demands. He has stated quite emphatically in the media that there is no question of resignation of any leader, considering no one has done anything that can be regarded as against morality and law. The Union Minister has also said that the BJP shall not bow down to any ultimatum from anyone. This is likely to cause great consternation to the opposition parties such as Congress.
Ghulam Nabi Azad has been at the forefront of these demands. In fact, Azad said that he was hoping that Modi would ask the ministers under fire to resign as that would have helped in the easy passage of various bills. However, the demands have been rejected by Naidu. He said that no entity was in a position to dictate the affairs of the Parliament considering its sovereign nature. He has conceded that the party is ready to discuss any issue raised in the Parliament.
The land bill – known officially as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Re-settlement (Second) Bill, 2015 – has already stirred up much storm across the country. It is expected that the bill would be discussed in the ensuing Parliament session as well. However, the bill is currently being looked at by a joint committee and thus, there is a chance that it might not feature after all. The joint committee, which is probably made up of various political entities of India, is yet to reach a common ground regarding the bill and this could prevent any discussion regarding the same in the Parliament. Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party has stated that the party will oppose the bill.
The government is also supposed to bring up several other bills for discussion such as the following:
• GST Bill
• Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015
• Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014
• Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014