Six high level meetings before Winter Session

Six high level meetings before Winter Session

Rafale versus Agusta can dominate discourse

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Six high-level meetings in Parliament will mark the beginning of Winter Session, which is all set to be a stormy affair.

The Winter Session starts from December 11 and five of the meetings are lined up on December 10— a day before the results of Assembly election in five states are declared.

The highlights will be the December 10 meeting of all Opposition parties and the all party meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on December 11.

While Opposition parties are gathering to devise a common strategy to put the government on the mat on issues like Rafale, price hike and corruption, the Speaker will seek to build a consensus for a smooth functioning of the Lower House the next day.

The extradition of Christian Michel, the reported middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, has clearly come as a shot in the arm for the government, which is battling repeated charge of corruption by the Congress on the Rafale deal.

The Winter Session from December 11 to January 8, which is going to to be the last full-fledged session before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, may see an intense political slug fest and manoeuvering— as such there could be a Rafale versus Agusta slug fest.

The Opposition parties' bid to showcase a larger unity, has, however, suffered a somewhat loss of perception with the BSP chief Mayawati, whose party is contesting independently of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, unlikely to attend the Opposition meet.

Also, she is no longer a Rajya Sabha member, after having resigned in July this year.

However, Sharad Yadav, the rebel JDU leader, who lost his Rajya Sabha membership, will attend the meeting.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will hold a meeting with leaders of all parties on December 10 ahead of a back-to-back meetings of the BJP's Parliamentary Party Executive and a meeting of NDA leaders.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu will hold a meeting with floor leaders of all parties in Rajya Sabha the same day.

The next day, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will meet floor leaders of all the parties in the Lower House.

The first day of the Parliament session will not see transaction of any business in the Lok Sabha on account of death of sitting members.

Issues like instant "triple talaq" bill, distress in farm sector, and working of the CBI are also likely to be discussed during the session.