After much delay, the winter session of the Parliament finally began today. Usually, the session begins in mid-November but this time in wake of the Gujarat assembly elections, the session was postponed until 15 Dec, a day after the voting for the second phase of the polls ended in Gujarat.
This is the shortest winter session in almost twenty years.
The opposition party had alleged that BJP had deliberately delayed the session so that the debates on the Rafale’s deal and the allegations charged on Amit Shah’s son may not influence the voting in Gujarat. Also, it is also being regarded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, being the former Chief Minister of Gujarat and the star campaigner of the party wanted to for the time being only concentrate on the Gujarat elections.
A day ahead of the session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar on Thursday had said that the government is ready to discuss all the issues, including those to be raised by the Opposition. He also requested all the Members of the Parliament to work full time to address all the important business, since this session is already delayed and will last for only 14 days. “The government is ready to discuss and debate any issue. Several issues would be raised by the opposition and the government would obviously give its response,” he said.
Responding to a query regarding the debate on the allegations made on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said that “It is also the opposition’s responsibility to run Parliament. The Prime Minister has sought opposition’s cooperation for the smooth functioning of Parliament.” Giving the details of the proceedings of the session, he added that 25 Bills are listed in the Lok Sabha and 39 Bills are pending in the Rajya Sabha which would be taken up and disposed of according to priority.
He further talking about the bills that will be taken as a priority said that The most important business would be the Supplementary Demands for Grants, which is the first one after the implementation of GST; the 123rd Constitutional Amendment for setting up of National Commission for Backward Classes as a constitutional body; and the Bill against triple talaq.”
A day before the winter session kickstarted, Congress and several opposition parties met on Thursday to discuss and form a strategy to corner the government on key issues. During the meeting, prominent leaders of many opposition parties, including the Congress, NCP, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), RJD, J-K National Conference and the Left parties met in the chamber of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and discussed key issues to be raised in Parliament.
Ahead of the winter session, the Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad criticising the Prime Minister for making allegations on Manmohan Singh for conspiring with Pakistan and influence the Gujarat Polls, demanded a clarification during the session. “For the first time, a Prime Minister has accused Former PM, former Vice President and diplomats of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat elections. PM must clarify in the Parliament,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also addressed the media before the beginning of the winter session today. He said that he hopes for a fruitful parliamentary session that would benefit the country. He also added that this parliament session should be held with a positive approach to move the country forward. “Generally, winter starts with Diwali. But due to global warming winter has not come in full force. But the winter session has started now and I hope that country would be benefitted from fruitful 2017-2018 winter session in Parliament. I hope for positive and innovative arguments,” Modi said.
The Winter Session of Parliament is starting and I am confident that it will be productive session. I hope there is constructive debate and we come up with innovative solutions to our nation's problems: PM @narendramodi speaks at the start of the Winter Session of Parliament
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 15, 2017
May this Parliament Session contribute to the nation's growth: PM @narendramodi at the start of the Winter Session of Parliament
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 15, 2017
Soon as the session began, the Rajya Sabha session was adjourned until 18 December. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, after making obituary references to the recent death of three sitting Lok Sabha MPs — Sultan Ahmed (TMC), Chand Nath (BJP) and Tasleem Uddin (RJD), adjourned the session and announced that the next session will commence on 11 am on Monday.
Prime Minister during the session, first introduced the three new cabinet members Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman who were elevated as Cabinet ministers in the September 3 reshuffle of the cabinet in Lok Sabha and then in Rajya Sabha.
While, as soon as the Rajya Sabha session began, the opposition parties began chanting the slogans of “Taanashahi Nahin chalegi”, in regard to the disqualification of rebel JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar. After which chairman Venkaiah Naidu said, “All in Well, not well”, and adjourned till 12 noon.
Also, the Congress clarified that former party President Sonia Gandhi will not retire from the politics. Earlier in the day, there were speculations that after Rahul Gandhi assumes office as the President of Congress, Sonia will retire. However, Randeep Surjewala cleared that Sonia Gandhi will not be retiring from politics, but only as party president.”
Would sincerely request friends in the media to not rely upon innuendos.
Smt. Sonia Gandhi has retired as President of Indian National Congress and not from politics. Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light.
— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) December 15, 2017
The Rajya Sabha session was adjourned for the second time till 2.30 pm, when during the question hour. The leader of Opposition raised the issue of the allegations made by Narendra Modi that Manmohan Singh along with a few other Congress leaders was involved in a conspiracy with Pakistan. “Prime Minister must come to the house (Rajya Sabha) and give proof of what he said or he must apologize not only to the house but to the whole nation,” the Congress demanded.
Later the Rajya Sabha was also adjourned until 18 December.