Oppn seeks more time to raise issues in Parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi, MoS Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal, TMC's Sudip Bandopadhyay and others leave after an All-Party meeting, at Parliament House in New Delhi. PTI

On the eve of the Winter Session of Parliament, Opposition parties have demanded more time from the presiding officers to raise issues such as economic slowdown, agrarian distress and increasing unemployment to corner the Modi government.

A common grouse of the Opposition parties was that the first session of the newly-elected Lok Sabha focused largely on legislative agenda and virtually no time on having discussions on issues bothering the common man.

At an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla here on Saturday evening, Opposition members also demanded that they be given adequate time to study bills that were introduced at short notice in the previous session catching them unawares.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the leaders at the all-party meeting over high tea.

The Winter Session of Parliament begins on Monday and is scheduled to continue till December 13.

Top of the government's agenda is to seek Parliamentary approval for the Citizenship Amendment Bill that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, Jains and Buddhists from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

Top on government agenda would be to get Parliamentary nod for The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) bill and The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill to replace the Ordinances issued during the inter-session period.

Also, the government would seek Parliament approval for the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra.

The Congress is expected to demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation into the Rafale deal, particularly in view of Justice K M Joseph's remarks in the judgement that dismissed the review petitions in the fighter jet contract with French company Dassault.

TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said that his party would raise the issue of Governor Jagdeep Dhankar “running a parallel administration” in West Bengal besides issues such as agrarian distress, unemployment, and state of the economy.

Congress has convened a meeting of the UPA and like-minded parties on Monday to devise a joint strategy for the Winter Session.

Birla said that leaders of all parties had assured him of cooperation in the smooth functioning of the House.

“As the House is answerable to the people and I hope parties will raise issues of public interest. There should be a debate in the House, and for that, it should function,” he said.

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