BJP’s Pralhad Joshi’s response to Sonia Gandhi, says you are trying to politicise…

Opposition politicising special Parliament session, says Union Minister Pralhad Joshi; will inform public of agenda.

Published6 Sep 2023, 11:51 PM IST
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said there will be five sittings. (HT)
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said there will be five sittings. (HT)(MINT_PRINT)

Responding to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over not sharing its agenda for the upcoming special Parliament Session beginning September 18-22, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi' said that the Opposition is unnecessarily politicising the issue, adding that it will inform the public what is going to happen during the session.

The Centre has called for a special session of Parliament for five days between September 18 and 22.

The development comes after Congress leader Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi listing nine issues for discussion and stating the government did not share its agenda for the upcoming parliamentary session.

Pralhad Joshi said, "It is deeply unfortunate that you are politicising the work of our Parliament and when there is no controversy, you are unnecessarily raking it up. We will mail the public what is going to happen during the five days of the session at an appropriate time".

Reacting to Congress’s claim that the agenda of this special session wasn’t shared, Joshi said, “Never before, even when other governments were at the Centre, the agenda was circulated in advance. Unnecessarily, they (Congress) are politicising the issue and that’s really unfortunate.”

"As you are aware, Parliament sessions are held regularly in compliance with the constitutional mandate under Article 85, which provides that the President may, from time to time, convene each House of Parliament at such time and place as he thinks fit. Shall convene a meeting, but there shall not be an interval of six months between its last meeting in one session and the date fixed for its first meeting in the next session," the letter stated.

He further said that following the fully established procedure, after the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, the President has called the Parliament session starting from September 18.

"I would also like to say that our government is always ready to discuss any issue. All the issues which you have mentioned were raised during the discussion on the no-confidence motion during the Monsoon Session shortly before and the government had also responded to them," he said.

He wrote in the letter, "The agenda of the session will, as usual, be circulated at the appropriate time as per established practice. I would also like to point out again that in our parliamentary functioning, irrespective of which party is in government, to date the agenda has never been circulated in advance at the time of convening the Parliament."

"I have full confidence that the dignity of Parliament will be maintained and this platform will not be used for political disputes. Additionally, I look forward to your full cooperation in running the upcoming session smoothly resulting in meaningful results in the national interest," he added.

"Perhaps you do not pay attention to traditions. Neither discussions are held with political parties nor issues are ever discussed before calling the Parliament session," he added.

Echoing Joshi’s statement, Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi said the agenda is always decided when the session approaches and initially only the dates for the session are decided.

Lekhi said, “Whenever a parliamentary session begins, only the dates are decided. It's not the first time that this is happening. The agenda is decided as the session approaches.”

Meanwhile, hitting out at Sonia Gandhi, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has written a letter to PM Modi to which Union Minister Prahlad Joshi has sent a response.

"It is sad that Sonia Gandhi, Congress party and Opposition has tried to politicise it...I request Sonia Gandhi and her party to take part in the special session...Congress does not have issues...They only give statements to divide the nation," Goyal said.

Earlier, Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a discussion and debate on several issues including the current economic situation of the country.

In her letter to the PM, Sonia Gandhi said that the Opposition most certainly wants to participate in the special session as it will give an opportunity to raise matters of public concern and importance.

She further said that the session is being held without any consultation with other political parties and none of them have any idea on the agenda for the session.

“You have convened a special five-day session of the Parliament beginning 18 September 2023. I must point out that this Special Session has been convened without any consultation with other political parties. None of us have any idea of its agenda,” she said in her letter.

“All we have been communicated is that all five days have been allocated for Government Business. We most certainly want to participate in the Special Session because it will give us an opportunity to raise matters of public concern and importance,” Sonia Gandhi said.

She further said that the session is being held without any consultation with other political parties and none of them have any idea on the agenda for the session.

The Congress leader further urged for a discussion on several issues during the special session including the need for the caste census, Manipur, communal clashes, and inflations.

“I earnestly hope that time will be allocated under the appropriate Rules for a discussion and debate on these issues. These are--current economic situation with a focus on increasing price rise of essential commodities, growing unemployment, rise in inequalities and distress of MSMEs, commitment made by the Government of India to farmers and farmer organizations in regard to MSP and other demands raised by them, demand for a JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) to investigate the transactions of the Adani business group in light of all revelations,” she said.

Sonia also demanded a discussion over the rift between several states and the Centre.

“Debate on the continued agony faced by people of Manipur and breakdown of Constitutional machinery and social harmony in the state, urgent need for a caste census, damages being inflicted on Centre-State relations and the impact of natural disasters caused by extreme floods in some States and drought in others should be held,” the former Congress chief said.

The Congress leader further demanded that a discussion on the rise in communal tension in different states like Haryana and the continued ‘occupation of Indian Territory by China’ should take place.

She further said that in a spirit of constructive cooperation, these issues should be taken up in the forthcoming special session.

Recently, through a post on X (Former Twitter) Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and asked "How much will you mislead Joshi-avare?"

"On each and every occasion of a Special Session/Sitting, the agenda was well known in advance. It is only the Modi government that routinely disrespects Parliament and distorts Parliamentary conventions. Past governments, including yours, have called many Special Sittings to commemorate the Constitution Day, Quit India Movement and other such occasions," he tweeted.

He further put an exhaustive list of past instances, starting with Special Sessions.

"30 June, 2017 — A Joint Special Session in the Central Hall at midnight to roll out the GST. A Special Session of Lok Sabha was called in July 2008 for a trust vote after the Left parties withdrew support from the UPA-1 government. A Special Session was called from 26 August, 1997 to 1 September, 1997 to commemorate 50th anniversary of Indian Independence."

Earlier, there were two instances where the Upper House met for a Special Session when the Lok Sabha was under dissolution:-

"Special Session (158th Session) was held for two days starting on June 3, 1991 for approval of the President’s Rule in Haryana, under the proviso to Article 356(3). Special Session of Rajya Sabha was held in February 1977 for two days for the extension of the President’s Rule in Tamil Nadu and Nagaland under the second proviso to Article 356(4)," he tweeted.

Putting up lists of Special Sittings Jairam Ramesh said that "Special Sitting in Central Hall forenoon on 26 November, 2019 commemorating 70th anniversary of Constitution amidst then ongoing winter session."

"9 August, 2017 — Special Sitting to commemorate 75th anniversary of Quit India Movement, amidst ongoing Monsoon session. 26 and 27 November, 2015 — Special Sitting to commemorate Constitution Day. 13 May 2012 — Special Sitting to commemorate 60th anniversary of first sittings of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha — during the then ongoing budget session," he said.

Earlier, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the INDIA bloc of opposition parties will attend the special session of Parliament to be held from September 18-22.

“We have decided that we will not boycott the special session as it is an opportunity for us to raise public issues concerning the public,” Ramesh said addressing a press conference in Delhi.

Meanwhile, 24 parties of the INDIA bloc have agreed to participate in the special session of the Parliament scheduled to begin on September 18. Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi will be writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of these 24 parties, sources said.

The agenda for the special session, has however not been revealed yet.'

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which concluded last month, was held in the old Parliament building. The announcement of the special session came as a surprise in political circles with the parties gearing up for assembly polls in five states later this year.

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First Published:6 Sep 2023, 11:51 PM IST
HomePoliticsNewsBJP’s Pralhad Joshi’s response to Sonia Gandhi, says you are trying to politicise…

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