Opposition bracing up to target government in monsoon session

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) Opposition parties are bracing up to put the government on the mat on a range of issues including the Vayapam scam, controversy surrounding Lalit Modi and the land bill in the monsoon session of parliament beginning Tuesday.

The session, which will continue till Aug 13, is expected to be stormy with the opposition parties seeking answers from the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the controversies surrounding Bharatiya Janata Party ministers and chief ministers.

The opposition parties are also expected to raise the border tensions with Pakistan after BJP’s claims of “breakthrough” in the meeting between Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on July 10 in the Russian city of Ufa.

Official sources meanwhile said the government is expected to introduce eight new bills during the session and will also seek to pass some pending bills.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has convened a meeting with opposition leaders on Monday morning to seek smooth functioning of parliament, while Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will meet leaders of parties in the house Monday afternoon.

Opposition parties have been demanding resignation of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje over their help to former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, who is being probed for alleged tax evasion.

Congress leader Salman Khurshid told IANS that “corruption of BJP entities” will be a priority for the party in the monsoon session.

“Farmers concerns will be a priority. Land bill and (issues concerning) national security will be a priority,” he said.

Indicating that it will not be easy for the government to ensure smooth functioning of the house, he said the Congress was upset that “scant respect has been shown to demands for accountability”.

He said the party has already demanded resignations of Sushma Swaraj and Raje and will finetune its strategy after meeting of its leaders in parliament.

Congress is in favour of Supreme Court monitored Central Bureau of Investigation probe in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, better known as Vyapam scam and around 40 deaths linked to it.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Tapan Kumar Sen said that land bill, price rise, the GST bill and the Vyapam scam were among issues which will be raised by the party.

“The opposition will play its role. It is primarily responsibility of the government to ensure smooth functioning of parliament,” Sen told IANS.

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said that his party will raise several issues including those pertaining to farmers, economy, unemployment and relations with neighbouring countries.

“The prime minister goes to many countries but parliament is not informed,” he said.

PRS Legislative Research, which tracks work of parliament, said that the government is likely to mainly push its legislative agenda during the session.

“Legislative business should predominantly be the focus for this upcoming monsoon session. Bills related to juvenile justice and whistleblower’s protection have been passed by one house and only require passing from the second house. These bills could be taken up for passing during the upcoming session,” Trina Roy of PRS Legislative Research told IANS.

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