THE SECOND leg of Budget Session will begin on Monday amid a fresh showdown between opposition parties and the BJP government over alleged misuse of central investigative agencies. Several opposition parties are keen to raise the issue in Parliament.
At least the initial days could witness stormy scenes, some of the leaders said on Sunday. Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has called a meeting of opposition parties in his chamber Monday morning to decide the floor strategy.
During the recess, the CBI arrested senior AAP leader and former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in the Delhi excise policy case while the Enforcement Directorate questioned BRS leader K Kavitha in connection with the same case on Saturday.
Separately, the CBI questioned RJD leaders and former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi in connection with its probe into the land-for-jobs case and the Enforcement Directorate conducted searches at premises allegedly linked to their children, including Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
The session also begins against the backdrop of a raging war of words between the main opposition Congress and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar. Incidentally, Kharge on Sunday met Dhankhar after which he said he sought the cooperation of the Chairman.
“We as Opposition parties are keen to play a constructive role in making the government accountable and would want discussion on every burning issue facing the nation,” he said.
At a meeting with floor leaders of all parties on Sunday, Dhankhar sought their views on ways to curb disruptions in the House. The Opposition members raised the issue of alleged misuse of central agencies against non-BJP governments and the move to appoint Dhankhar’s personal staff on parliamentary committees.
Dhankhar mainly flagged the issue of whether disruptions can be allowed and if members can have a “free fall of information” in the name of free speech in the House as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution, which deals with freedom of speech in Parliament with certain conditions.
Leader of House Piyush Goyal, Congress’s Jairam Ramesh, DMK’s M Shanmugam, AAP’s Sanjay Singh and Samajwadi Party’s Ramgopal Yadav were among those present at the meeting.
Sources in the Congress said it will continue to seek setting up of a JPC probe into the allegations against the Adani Group and discussions on the border standoff with China, price rise and unemployment.
The Trinamool Congress has already said that it would raise issues such as LIC and SBI’s risk exposure, price rise of essential commodities, unemployment and “misuse” of central agencies during the session.
The government, meanwhile, said its priority is to pass the Finance Bill.
During the session, which is set to conclude on April 6, the government said discussions will be held on demands for grants of ministries including Railways, Panchayati Raj, Tourism, Culture and Health.
Speaker Om Birla will later apply the guillotine, after which all the outstanding demands for grants, whether discussed or not, will be put to vote and passed.
“The first responsibility of the government is to get the Finance Bill passed. Then we will hold discussions on issues the Opposition’s demands,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal was quoted as saying by the PTI.
On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present Supplementary Demands for Grants – Second Batch for 2022-23. She will also table the Budget for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for the year 2023-24 in Lok Sabha.
The AAP factor at Kharge meet
IT IS to be seen whether the AAP attends the meeting called by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday to decide the floor strategy of the opposition parties. Also, what position the Congress takes on the issue of AAP leader Manish Sisodia’s arrest. The Congress had been claiming a scam in the Delhi excise policy.
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