Poll stress to cloud Monsoon session of Parliament
The Monsoon session of Parliament is set to be a full dress rehearsal for bruising electoral battles that would ensue in the run up to the general elections scheduled for 2019. The stakes are high for both sides of the political divide, making cooperation between the treasury benches and the opposition an uphill task in the 18 working day session, beginning Wednesday, July 18.
The opposition has drawn up its strategy to embarrass the government in both the Houses of Parliament by raising issues of job losses, economic distress and the government’s reported moves to water down the provisions of the Right to Information law.
The stage has already been set in the Lok Sabha with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) making its intention clear to move no confidence motion against the Modi government for its failure to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
TDP’s efforts to move no-confidence against the government during the Budget session had resulted in a near washout as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally All India Dravid Munnetram Kazhgam disrupted proceedings.
BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's failure to establish Cauvery Management Board became an excuse to bailout the Modi government. The BJP is well placed to win any trust vote that comes up before the Lok Sabha, the lower House of Parliament. However, it is adamant on avoiding a vote as it fears that it may expose fissures in the NDA with some allies and rebellious Members of Parliament voting against the government or abstaining from voting.
The election of deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha has emerged as an issue to corner the government. Though the BJP is the single largest party in the Upper House of Parliament, it is way short of numbers to ensure its nominees bags the post. The main opposition, the Congress, whose nominee has traditionally occupied the office, is willing to concede the post to a regional party with an eye on future alliances.
The government has drawn its strategy to outwit the opposition by pushing for bill on rights of Muslim women or the triple talaq issue. It also has listed the bill to provide for constitutional status to Other Backward Classes Commission and the legislation allowing seizure of property of the economic offenders. Earlier efforts to pass the legislation had faced opposition stonewalling on the issue.
The government will also bring six Bills to turn Ordinances into laws. This includes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill, the Criminal Laws Amendment Bills, commercial courts bill, National Sports University Bill and Homeopathic Central Council Bill. Legislation related to National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 and the Right to Education (2nd Amendment) Bill have also been listed for discussion and passing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given indication of his thinking by attacking the Congress for its opposition to the triple talaq bill, thereby trying to set the agenda for the next general election.
The Parliament session may turn out to be a washout again, but every move and gesture set the mood for elections scheduled over next nine months.