This year’s monsoon session of Parliament was billed as “historic" for several reasons. Held soon after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party won an even larger majority than it had in 2014, it saw the passage of some controversial bills. The government abolished the practice of triple talaq and abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution with relative ease. The winter session, which began on Monday, is likely to work up a storm in contrast. Contentious legislation, such as a bill that reworks the eligibility criteria for Indian citizenship, would be up for consideration and opposition parties appear to have recovered from the stupor of electoral defeat.
Apart from which immigrants are to be offered citizenship and which not, a major issue that the opposition seems keen to confront the government on is the current economic slowdown, evidence for which has mounted since the last session of Parliament. In Jammu and Kashmir, normalcy has still not been restored more than three months after its reorganization, with internet services off and local leaders under detention.
No doubt, the Narendra Modi government dominates the Lok Sabha, and so “ayes" will prevail on all bills. But the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP does not yet have sufficient strength, can still stymie some of them. The ruling party has also lost an ally recently. The Shiv Sena, which parted ways with the BJP over power sharing in Maharashtra, is expected to add its voice to the opposition’s. All this sets the stage for a stormy session. Let’s hope it makes for more debate than disruption.