6th September 2023,Mumbai: Intriguing Dispute Over Special Parliament Session
Parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi defended the upcoming special session of Parliament, scheduled for September 18-22, claiming it adheres to parliamentary rules and accused Sonia Gandhi of stirring controversy over the matter. This article delves into the dispute and the key points raised by both parties.
Joshi’s Response to Sonia Gandhi
In response to Sonia Gandhi’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wherein she requested the agenda for the special session and raised nine pressing issues, Joshi wrote a letter of his own. He refuted the notion that the special session violates any rules or regulations, accusing Gandhi of politicizing and unnecessarily creating a controversy around Parliament, which he referred to as the “temple of our democracy.”
Sonia Gandhi’s letter to the Prime Minister articulated the Congress party’s concerns. She asked for clarity regarding the special session’s agenda and insisted on discussing various issues, including rising prices, unemployment, the Adani group controversy, caste census, Manipur violence, and the India-China border dispute. These demands set the stage for the brewing conflict.
Congress Allegations of Lack of Transparency
Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh criticized the government’s lack of transparency regarding the special session’s agenda. He pointed out that Gandhi’s letter highlighted this issue and emphasized that the session had been announced without adequate consultation. Typically, the government seeks a consensus on the session’s agenda, but this time, that did not happen.
Government’s Clarification on Procedure
Joshi, in his response to Sonia Gandhi, attempted to clarify the parliamentary procedure. He stated that discussions with political parties were not required before calling a session, nor was agenda sharing part of the process. He highlighted that, traditionally, the agenda is discussed during a meeting with leaders of all parties at the session’s onset.
Adherence to Established Procedures
Joshi insisted that the government had followed the established procedures in convening the special session. Regarding the agenda, he reiterated that it would be shared as per the usual norms. He pointed out that, historically, the agenda has never been disclosed before the session, regardless of which party was in power.
Government’s Openness to Discussion
In response to Sonia Gandhi’s demand for discussions on nine specific issues, Joshi expressed the government’s willingness to engage in dialogue. He mentioned that the issues raised by Gandhi had already been addressed during the monsoon session when discussions on a no-confidence motion took place, and the government had responded accordingly.
Bridging the Divide
The clash of views between the government and the Congress party over the special parliamentary session underscores the complexities of parliamentary procedures and the political landscape. While the government asserts that it has adhered to established norms and is open to discussion, the opposition, led by Sonia Gandhi, emphasizes the need for transparency and dialogue on critical issues. As the scheduled session approaches, it remains to be seen how this dispute will be resolved and whether constructive discussions will prevail over political discord.
-by Kashvi Gala