Winter session will heat up due to job, inflation, LAC

New Delhi: Ahead of the winter session of Parliament beginning on Wednesday, opposition parties on Tuesday demanded a discussion on key issues including unemployment, price rise, quota for EWS sections and the situation at the China-India border in an all-party meeting. Called by the Central Government. These issues are set to be raised by the opposition during the winter session.

In the meeting, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) pitched for passing the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill in the winter session. The issue of one-third reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state legislators was also raised by the TMC, JD(U) and SAD parties in the Business Advisory Committee meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

The session will proceed amid major election results of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.

Exit polls on Monday predicted a massive majority for the BJP in Gujarat and a heavy heat in Himachal Pradesh, where most pollsters gave the ruling party an edge over the Congress. The government will introduce 16 bills during the 17 sittings of the session, which began after a month’s delay due to the Gujarat election schedule.

Leaders of over 30 parties attended the all-party meeting to discuss the legislative agenda and possible issues during the winter session of Parliament.

The meeting was chaired by Union Minister and Deputy Leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, Rajnath Singh. Leader of the House Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi were also present in the Rajya Sabha.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “There are many issues before the country, such as unemployment and price rise, and the government has to answer to the people.”

Chowdhury alleged that the government did not “properly” inform the opposition about the standoff at the Sino-India border.

He said, “We demand a discussion in the House on this and also on the killing of Kashmiri Pandits.”

Congress leader Naseer Hussain demanded appointment of Election Commissioner in just one day and discussion on Economically Weaker Section quota. The Congress list of issues to be taken up during the session also includes “Centre’s attack on the judiciary and refusal to accept the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium”. The party will also raise 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections and the Supreme Court verdict on the Morbi bridge collapse in Gujarat.

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said he sought a discussion with party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien on price rise, unemployment, alleged misuse of agencies and economic blockade of states. O’Brien also told the government that the opposition should be allowed to raise issues of importance.

The BJD demanded passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the winter session of Parliament.

“On behalf of my party BJD, I demanded that the Women’s Reservation Bill be passed in the winter session,” Patra told reporters after the meeting. The MP said BJD leader and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the party are committed to women empowerment.

A bill to reserve one-third of the seats for women in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies could not be passed in the 15th Lok Sabha. While the bill was pending in the lower house of the Parliament, the term of the 15th Lok Sabha expired and the Constitution Amendment Bill lapsed.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress, JD(U) and Shiromani Akali Dal demanded an all-party meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to arrive at a consensus on the Women’s Reservation Bill, TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said. TMC raised the issue at the Lok Sabha Business Advisory Committee meeting, while JD(U) and SAD supported it. The BAC meeting was called by the speaker ahead of the winter session of Parliament starting on Wednesday. This will be the first session when Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar will also preside as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

The winter session is also likely to be the last session to be held in the existing Parliament House as the new Parliament House will be ready for use in the budget session.