Ahead of the winter session of Parliament, Opposition Congress, buoyed by the fine showing in the recent Bihar Polls 2015, has signalled closing of ranks, and told the Modi government that only a spirit of give and take would ensure passage of key bills like the GST. “Give and take is the essence of Parliamentary democracy. It is not a one way traffic in which the Opposition supports all the measures irrespective of their deficiencies and government fails to amend them,” Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said to PTI. “We are ready to cooperate, but if they want our cooperation, they will also have to reach out,” was the refrain of the veteran Congress leader.
He said this in reply to the heavy legislative agenda the government has planned for the month-long session, including the key reform measure GST, which commences on November 26, and concludes on December 23.
Noting that the party would also reach out to other Opposition parties for greater floor coordination, he recalled that the Opposition unity in the last session had resulted in the government not proceeding ahead with the controversial Land Acquisition Bill.
The Opposition wanted to take up a host of issues, including, growing intolerance, inflation, drought, floods, and atrocities, on Dalits and minorities, he said, adding that the Opposition expected that the government takes it into confidence to run Parliament smoothly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign tours, and the investments generated from them, is also one of the key issues the Congress would like to take up, Kharge said.
“We also expect full cooperation from the Speaker for smooth running of the House,” Kharge said, in the wake of reports that Sumitra Mahajan has written to members to ensure acceptable decorum in the House in the session.
Last session of Parliament had seen a virtual washout of the proceedings in the wake of the Congress’s demand for the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, in the Lalit Modi controversy, and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, in the Vyapam scam. The session had also witnessed suspension of 25 of the 44 Congress MPs by the Speaker.
This is the first session of Parliament after NDA’s debacle in the Bihar elections.