Winter session of Parliament possible after Gujarat elections

New Delhi: Two senior officials said on Friday that the upcoming winter session of Parliament may begin in the first week of December after the completion of polling in the Gujarat Assembly elections. A third top functionary said that though the government is yet to finalize the schedule, the session could go on till at least the third week of December.

While the winter session usually begins in mid-November, this time the two largest parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, are busy with elections in Himachal and Gujarat. While Himachal Pradesh goes to polls on November 12, Gujarat will vote in two phases on December 1 and December 5. The results of both the elections will be declared on December 8.

The first official said no formal meeting has taken place so far to decide the schedule, but informal consultations have begun among stakeholders. “The government is planning to hold the session in the first week of December, possibly on December 6 or 7 and the session may continue till December 29,” said a second official.

The third official said: “The session will last most of December.”

The exact program will be worked out after floor managers talk to leaders of other political parties.

A section of the establishment has kept open the possibility of the session beginning in November-end. “But the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is yet to meet and discussions with all opposition parties are not over,” said the first official.

In March 2020, after the spread of Kovid-19 disease across India, the ongoing budget session at that time was cut short by seven days. Subsequently, all Parliament sessions were closed for at least a few days, and the 2020 winter session could not be held at all.

Even the new Parliament building is not fully ready to host regular sessions at this point, a fourth official said, adding that a special event – as part of the soft launch – will be held at the new building on December 20. is likely to happen. However, the prime minister is unlikely to inaugurate the building until it becomes fully functional.

Last year the session was held from November 21 to December 22. In 2018, the winter session began on December 11 and ended on January 9, 2019.

In the upcoming session, the government is expected to introduce a new bill to replace the existing law on personal data protection. More than 30 Bills are pending before the House, including the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, the Competition (Amendment) Bill, the New Delhi International Arbitration Center (Amendment) Bill, the Arbitration Bill and the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill.