Oppn calls Special Session agenda a diversion, expects last moment announcements
The government made the announcement amid speculation on the agenda for the Parliament’s special session, scheduled between 18-22 September
Key members of the INDIA bloc criticised the ‘not-exhaustive’ agenda of next week’s five-day special session of the Parliament, announced Wednesday night, calling it a ‘disappointment’ and a ‘diversion tactic.’
The government’s announcement comes amid intense speculation on the special session’s agenda, which is scheduled to be held from 18-22 September and the agenda for which has been largely kept under wraps.
The agenda list announced Wednesday night should not be considered exhaustive, the government said in a bulletin.
Congress general secretary K.C.Venugopal questioned why listed agenda did not mention any issue that Sonia Gandhi, Congress parliamentary party (CPP) chairperson, flagged in a letter she wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote last week, adding the government released it to solely manage headlines.
“The Special Session of Parliament agenda announced thus far does not speak of a single issue of public importance raised by CPP Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji in her letter to PM Modi. Instead, they have chosen headline management. 140 crore Indians are sorely disappointed looking at this agenda,” Venugopal said in a post via X (formerly Twitter).
On a discussion on India’s parliamentary journey of 75 years, listed as the main agenda in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha bulletin for the special session, Venugopal said the same topic was also taken up in 2021.
“In 2021, Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla conducted a series of events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Parliament. Today’s announcement tells us the Special Session of Parliament will have discussions for the same reason. Is the government so bereft of ideas that they are celebrating the same occasion twice in 3 years? Or is this yet another diversionary tactic?” Venugopal asked.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien on Thursday said the government could add “some business” at the last minute.
“The agenda of the Special Parliament Session has still not been announced, and I say this because in the list of businesses, they have written a very sinister line there saying this is not the exhaustive list of businesses. They will be up to dirty tricks, and they can add some business last minute,” Derek said.
In a post via X, he further added, “The agenda has a caveat* ‘not to be taken as exhaustive. Dirty tricks ?”
The parliament bulletin listed tentative legislative business expected to be taken up during the upcoming session including the controversial bill that seeks to exclude the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the panel to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).
The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, The Post Office Bill, 2023, and The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023 will be taken up during the upcoming session.
Reacting to the publicised agenda, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha on Thursday said if the CEC and EC appointment bill was passed, then democracy would be a thing of the past.
“If this bill passes then we will read in coming years, ‘Once upon a time there was democracy in India’. Does this committee have any meaning?... Already the works of the Election Commission are a subject of concern. After this, we would not be able to even go and complain to them... The government should think before bringing this dishonest bill so brazenly,” agency reports quoted Jha as saying.
“The letter by Sonia (Gandhi) ji had an impact and that is why they have released an agenda. By looking at the agenda it can be said, what is there in this agenda that couldn’t have waited till the Winter session? There is something that hasn’t been shared, it is being kept secret...We will oppose the CEC bill,” Congress leader Pawan Khera said, according to agency reports.