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I.N.D.I.A. bloc eyes to 'frustrate' BJP-led NDA with increased numerical muscle in Parliament

The first two days of the 18th Lok Sabha's first session sowed the seeds for a long-drawn confrontation with the Opposition believing that a beleaguered BJP should be drawn into mistakes by pushing them into a corner at the earliest.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 10:45 IST

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New Delhi: By waving Constitution at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha and choosing to ignore convention to fight for Speaker's post “to protect” the convention of the Opposition having Deputy Speaker chair, the I.N.D.I.A. bloc has send a strong signal to the BJP-led NDA regime that its increased numerical muscle in Parliament will be put to good use.

The first two days of the 18th Lok Sabha's first session sowed the seeds for a long-drawn confrontation with the Opposition believing that a beleaguered BJP should be drawn into mistakes by pushing them into a corner at the earliest.

The Opposition leaders said there is a need to “break the rhythm” and “frustrate the BJP” with strategies that could not be employed in the past ten years. It was in full display when Rahul Gandhi and other MPs waved the Constitution at Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and chanted ‘NEET, NEET’ when Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan took oath.

Forcing a contest for Speaker’s post and fielding the senior most Dalit MP Kodikkunnil Suresh, who was ignored to be Protem Speaker, is the latest addition though there were some reservations over the idea with a section arguing that they will face a defeat at the first instance and their numbers will be exposed.

Suresh, an eight-term MP, filed the nomination, just ten minutes before the deadline at 12 noon on Tuesday. “We need to protect the convention of the Opposition being given Deputy Speaker. The UPA did it but the BJP has not,” Suresh said.

For the Speaker's post, the Opposition played hard bargain by telling negotiator Rajnath Singh that they would also prefer a consensus but would not hesitate to force a contest if Deputy Speaker's post is not given to the Opposition. Singh told reporters he had three rounds of discussions with the Opposition.

“Rajnath-ji last evening said that he will call back Mallikarjun Kharge-ji. Rajnath-ji has not returned the call. So Modi-ji is saying that there should be constructive cooperation and then our leader is being insulted. So their intention is clear. Modi-ji does not want any constructive cooperation,” Rahul told reporters after Suresh filed the nomination.

Also with the BJD announcing that it will act as a “strong” Opposition in Rajya Sabha where it has nine MPs, the Opposition feels that the Modi government would find it difficult in bulldozing legislations.

They are also eagerly looking at the faultlines in the BJP like absence of top BJP leaders like Modi, Shah and Rajnath Singh not being present in the House when Madhya Pradesh MPs were taking oath and all MPs from the state seeking the blessings of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, sources said.

However, Opposition leaders do not see a sudden collapse but believe that the results of the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections, if in favour of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, would give a push for the start of rumblings. If Bihar polls in 2025 go the Opposition way, a senior leader said, it will actually put the Opposition on a pedestal.

Opposition leaders point to a string of incidents from the NEET and UGC-NET fiascos to violence in Manipur, terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and a train accident in West Bengal this month have put the spotlight on the Modi government at the start of its third term, giving them enough ammunition to put pressure on the coalition dispensation.

The I.N.D.I.A. bloc has made it clear that they would raise the decibel levels on the NEET and UGC-NET issues inside and outside Parliament, as it provides them an opportunity to further connect with the youth.

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Published 25 June 2024, 10:45 IST

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