New Delhi: The Winter Session of Parliament beginning on Tuesday is expected to be a hot affair for the Congress-led ruling coalition with the opposition gearing up for bringing to the fore the issue of corruption by raising “various scams” including the Adarsh housing scandal.
Though Speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of leaders of all political parties on the opening day to ensure a smooth session, it could be trouble for the government from the word go.
The NDA has threatened to stall the proceedings if “strong action” was not taken against all the guilty in the Adarsh housing scam.
In fact, the Adarsh scam has become an ideal issue for the Opposition to target the ruling party with Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan’s alleged links proving to be an embarrassment for Congress.
The opposition would utilise the opportunity to seek a discussion on the outcome of the US President Barack Obama’s visit, including the assurances given by Washington on key issues.
While the floor strategy of the Opposition is unclear, the BJP-led NDA as also the Left parties have given enough hints that the scams would be their handle to beat the government with.
The Opposition is insisting action on the allegations of scams surrounding 2G spectrum allocation and the Commonwealth Games during the month-long session. It will also seek a detailed discussion on the situation in Kashmir.
Government managers fear that the first week of the session could turn out to be a washout due to opposition uproar and adjournments. Officially, however, government denies that it was “under siege” from the Opposition.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has said the BJP would scuttle any plans of the Congress to “hide” the CWG scam behind the housing society scam.
Striking a similar note, CPI leader D. Raja said corruption would be a major issue for the Left. He also said the government would have to tell Parliament what was happening in Kashmir after the appointment of interlocutors to find a political solution to the issue.
Congress is expected to hit back by directing its firepower against RSS accusing it of being involved in terror acts and the BJP on the Babri Masjid demolition issue.
A statement at the just-concluded AICC meeting had obliquely referred to the Ajmer blast saying recent revelations through detailed investigations have exposed the “true character” of RSS and its sister organisations.
This is also the first session after the 30 September Allahabad High Court verdict on Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit. The Congress is insisting that the ruling in “no way condones” the demolition of the disputed structure on 6 December, 1992.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has expressed the government’s readiness for discussion on any issue including the Adarsh housing scam and the 2G spectrum allocation controversy.
“We are prepared for discussion on any matter... permitted under rules and as decided by the Presiding Officers,” is the refrain of those in the government.
They would like that Parliament should be allowed to function and there should be no disturbance.
There were as many as 23 bills being brought for consideration and passing in the session which will have 24 sittings spread over 35 days.
The bills to be brought included the Women’s Reservation Bill as also two other constitution amendment bills giving 50% reservation to women in Panchayat Raj Institutions and urban local bodies.
The Educational Tribunals Bill, which ran into rough weather in the Rajya Sabha with even Congress members raising objections to the measure in the Monsoon Session, is again being brought for consideration in the Rajya Sabha in this session. The Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.
The Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, on which Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee has strong reservations, is being brought along with the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill for introduction, consideration and passing.
Among the Bills which would be introduced during the session are the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill and the Universities for Innovation Bill.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill is being withdrawn and a fresh bill will be introduced in its place.