Govt thinking of extending Parl session, Oppn not keen

Amid government considering extension of the ongoing Parliament session till August 9, Opposition parties are planning to counter the move, as they feel that it is attempted at passing more bills without Parliamentary scrutiny.

Sources said BJP chief and Home Minister Amit Shah has told BJP Parliamentary Party meeting on Tuesday that party MPs should be prepared for such an eventuality. Session can be extended so that the government's legislative agenda could be completed, sources quoted Shah as saying.

After the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters, "there is a possibility of this. You will be officially conveyed when a decision is taken." The session had started on June 17 and is scheduled to end on July 26.

Opposition leaders said they were not formally told about this proposal and they have already conveyed their "strong disapproval" to the government.

Several non-BJP MPs said that the government has indicated about extending the session till August 9. A senior leader said the government has informally spoken to Opposition floor leaders and it was basically to gauge the mood of the Opposition.

"We have not been told anything concrete. We understand that the Speaker is also not keen to extend. Even without them officially approaching us, we have said that we are not in favour. Many of us have already planned our programme believing that the session is ending this Friday," the leader said.

Another Opposition MP said a senior minister told him that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted ten more working days to pass all the bills cleared by the Cabinet, including the controversial Triple Talaq Bill.

Thirteen bills have been passed by both the Houses while Rajya Sabha alone has passed 15. Another 14 are pending in Rajya Sabha, sources said.

The opposition has already conveyed its displeasure over "bulldozing" of legislations in Parliament and now planning to insist that crucial bills like the RTI Amendment Bill be sent to Select Committee of Rajya Sabha. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said the party will move motions to send Bills to select committee as well as submit amendments.

"Whether they send it for Parliamentary scrutiny or not, we will exercise our options...The government has not formed the Standing Committees. If you don't have Standing Committees, we have another solution in Rajya Sabha's Select Committee. We cannot pass bills without proper scrutiny," O'Brien said. 

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