31 January 2019
New Delhi: The opposition will seek to corner the BJP-led NDA on a range of issues including Rafale, problem of farmers and unemployment during the Budget session of Parliament beginning Thursday with the government expected to push its legislative agenda that includes the triple talaq bill and citizenship (amendment) bill.
The Congress has issued a whip to its members ahead of the session, which will be the last before the Lok Sabha elections slated for April-May. It will conclude on Feb 13.
The government will present interim budget on February 1 and it is expected to be a full budget and not a vote-on-account.
The session will begin with address by President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of the two Houses.
Apart from the vote of thanks to the President's address, the government's legislative agenda includes replacing three ordinances with bills.
These include the triple talaq Bill, companies (amendment) Bill and Medical Council (Amendment) Bill.
The government is keen to get the triple talaq Bill passed. It is also keen to get the citizenship (amendment) bill passed though almost all BJP allies in the north east are opposed to it.
Speaking to reporters after an all-party meeting convened by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the government "should not bring full Budget in the name of interim budget and confine itself to only vote-on-account."
He said the Congress will raise the Rafale issue again bring to light new points. The party has been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee in the Rafale deal. "We will also raise farmers' distress, unemployment and attack on autonomous bodies such as CBI, CVC, RBI," Kharge said.
He said the Congress will also raise its apprehensions regarding electronic voting machines.
"We put forth several issues in the meeting. We said that since this is the last session, everybody should be given a chance to speak on the discussion on Presidential address."
Trinamool Congres leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of "miusing CBI against Bengal." " "Why is Bengal being targeted? The federal structure is being ruined"," he said.
He said 50 per cent of VVPATs must be checked while using electronic votng machines in Lok Sabha elections.
In her remarks, Mahajan said that almost everyone assured her of their cooperation in smooth running of the House in what will be the last session before the general elections."
"There should be maximum discussion and maximum number of issues should be raised by the members. Parliament is meant for discussion and as parliamentarians, na'ion's interest should be priority for"us," she said.
Asked if government will bring a full budget, she said: "It is for the government to answer. But yes, such things have happened in the past." Asked about her remarks as a Speaker and as BJP MP on the Ram temple, she said: "I am still the Lok Sabha Speaker. I would be able to comment as a BJP MP after 15th (February). But as a Ram bhakt, I would say that all Ram bhakts want a Ram temple to be built in Ayodhya," she said.
The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has also convened an all-party meeting on Thursday.