Modi seeks cooperation for winter session, Congress wants JPC on Rafale

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New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Naredndra Modi on Monday sought cooperation of opposition parties in smooth running of the winter session of Parliament as the Congress sought a JPC probe into Rafale deal, discussion on “misuse” of EVMs and discussion on problems concerning farmers.

Modi, who took part in an all-party meeting convened by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry ahead of the winter session, said the government is always receptive to issues raised by political parties.

The government agenda for the session, which is the last full session before the Lok Sabha elections next year, has 46 items including 45 bills.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh said Modi underlined that in a democracy both the government and the opposition share their inputs for efficient governance.

“The Prime Minister said that the government was ready to discuss all issues as per rules and procedures. If anybody wants to bring something to the government’s notice inside the House or even outside, we are open to it,” Tomar said.

Modi urged political parties to create constructive atmosphere during the session and to collectively address issues concerning people. “It is our prime responsibility to contribute to the service of the nation and its people by ensuring smooth functioning of the Parliament,” he said.

Tomar said all political parties present at the meeting have assured full cooperation for smooth functioning of Parliament.

Asked if the government was ready for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale fighter jets deal, he said the opposition had several issues including Rafale, farmers’ plight and economy “but they would have to prioritise things as the session was only four weeks long. “These things can be settled in the Business Advisory Meetings,” he added.

The Minister said a legislation on Ram Mandir was “not the topic of today’s discussion”.

“When something to this effect comes up, we will let you know,” he said.

The government will bring three bills to replace ordinances – Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018, Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 and the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the Congress will press for a JPC inquiry into the Rafale deal and raise the issue of alleged misuse of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Azad said the party will also seek discussion on “misuse of investigative agencies” by the government to target political rivals, problems faced by farmers, fall in the value of rupee, rise in prices of petroleum products, security of women and “erosion of RBI autonomy”.

“We have been demanding for a long time that there should be a JPC probe into the Rafale scam but the government has failed to take a decision. We have again urged it to form a JPC,” he said.

Azad said it is important for democracy that voters have faith on EVMs.

“But unfortunately since the BJP came to power, people have lost faith in EVMs because the ruling party is misusing them. In the recent Assembly polls, this crossed all limits. EVM machines were found in houses, hotels, on roads, they were being taken unprotected in buses and jeeps…,” he said.

“There is a big doubt, a question mark whether elections were free and fair or being held under the watch of the government.”

The session will have a total of 20 sittings spread over a period of 29 days.

Some important pending legislations expected to be considered and passed during the Session are The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017, the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2018, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2018, the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018, and the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017.

Some bills expected to be introduced are The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCIM) Bill, 2018, and the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The meeting was attended by Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge and Anand Sharma, TMC’s Sudeep Bandhopadyay and Derek O’Brien, TDP’s C.M. Ramesh, CPI’s D.Raja, SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, AAP’s Bhagwant Mann and Sanjay Singh, NC’s Farooq Abdullah, RJD’s J.P. Yadav, NCP’s Majid Memon and RSP’s N.K. Premchandran.

Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Vijay Goel, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Anupriya Patel, Shiv Sena’s Chandrakant Khaire and LJP’s Chirag Paswan were also present at the meeting.

The session, which will be held in the backdrop of results of assembly polls, would have 20 sittings spread over 29 days.

–IANS

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