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Lok Sabha session: All eyes on major NDA allies as I.N.D.I.A. sharpens knives to target Modi govt

The session will be starting on a confrontationist note with three Opposition MPs refusing to assist Pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab.
Last Updated : 23 June 2024, 09:48 IST

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New Delhi: The 18th Lok Sabha will meet for the first time on Monday with newly-elected MPs taking oath as a resurgent Opposition is sharpening its knives to corner the Narendra Modi government with diminished numbers in Parliament.

On its part, the government does not want to show any weakness owing to coalition leader BJP declining to 240 MPs, which is 32 below the majority mark, while all eyes will be on major NDA allies -- TDP and JD(U). Words and actions of these parties’ leaders will be under microscopic lens to spot deviations.

The session, which will end on July 3 with Prime Minister Modi responding to the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, is all set to see sparks flying with the government facing trouble over NEET and UGC-NET issues.

Adding to the paper leak issue would be the demand for postponement of implementation of new criminal laws from July 1 and debates on continuing violence in Manipur, terror strikes in Jammu and Kashmir, Agnipath scheme, price rise, unemployment and lynching and rioting in some BJP-ruled states.

The session will be starting on a confrontationist note with three Opposition MPs refusing to assist Pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab in protest against the government choosing to ignore the claims of eight-term MP Kodikkunnil Suresh to head the oath taking process. President Droupadi Murmu will administer oath to Mahtab as Pro-tem Speaker on Monday.

The row over the Pro-tem Speaker would cast a shadow on the session with the confrontation likely to be an unprecedented contest for the post of Speaker, amid a section arguing that if the ruling coalition does not leave the Deputy Speaker post for the Opposition, it should force a voting for the post of Speaker.

In such a scenario, Suresh is likely to be the joint candidate of the Opposition, which accused the government of ignoring the senior-most MP, who is also a Dalit. I.N.D.I.A. leaders will be meeting in the next couple of days to finalise their strategy.

The election for the Speaker’s post is on Wednesday, after members take oath on the first two days. The ruling NDA has not spelt out its strategy, though a BJP MP is all set to take up the chair. The previous Lok Sabha did not elect a Deputy Speaker, a first in Indian Parliamentary history, and this time, no dates have been indicated for it so far.

While no disruption is expected in the first session, which will see President Murmu addressing the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs on June 27, the Opposition leaders told DH that the NEET and NET paper leak issue will dominate the proceedings.

Initially, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the government chose to defend the process but later went on a cancellation spree of exams and assigned the CBI to probe cases.

For the Opposition I.N.D.I.A. bloc with 237 MPs in Lok Sabha, the good news for them is that there is a thaw between Congress and Trinamool Congress after both fought a bitter battle in Lok Sabha polls. Late last week, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram held discussions with West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.

Trinamool leaders pointed to the absence of a known Mamata-baiter Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as Congress leader in Lok Sabha after his poll defeat as a positive signal in floor coordination in Lok Sabha.

Parliament Agenda

Lok Sabha:

May 24 and 25: Oath taking

May 25: Nomination for the post of Speaker to be filed before 12 noon

May 26: Speaker’s Election

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha:

May 27: Joint Sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for President’s address

May 27 to July 3: Discussion on Motion of Thanks to President’s address and Prime Minister’s reply in both Houses

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Published 23 June 2024, 09:48 IST

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