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New Delhi: A day before the parliament’s winter session, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi skipped an all-party meeting called by his government on Sunday, November 28. Although the government had earlier said that Modi will chair the all-party meeting, only defence minister Rajnath Singh and commerce minister Piyush Goyal represented the union government.
The government had called for the meeting to facilitate a smooth winter session, which is likely to have intense discussions over farm laws, unemployment, price rise and the Pegasus snooping row. However, the prime minister’s absence from the meeting on Sunday has kickstarted a row even before the session has begun.
Responding to the PM’s absence, Congress leader of Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said, “We were expecting that the Prime Minister will attend the meeting and will share something with us. We wanted to ask more about the farm laws as there are some apprehensions that these three farm laws may again come in some other form.”
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh staged a walkout, claiming that he wasn’t allowed to speak.
“They (the government) don’t let any member speak during an all-party meeting. I raised the issue of bringing a law on MSP guarantee in this session of the parliament and other issues, including the extension of BSF’s jurisdiction, etc. They don’t let us speak in all-party meet on the parliament,” he said.
सरकार किसानो से टकराना चाहती है।
किसान विरोधी विधुत संशोधन विधेयक ला रही है।
MSP की गारंटी बिलों की सूची में नही।
पंजाब में 50 KM BSF का कार्य क्षेत्र क्यों?
मैने अजय मिश्रा के इस्तीफ़े की माँग की तो
प्रहलाद जोशी जी ने मुझे मीटिंग में बोलने से रोका मैने मीटिंग का बहिष्कार किया https://t.co/S7D0eN8W9R
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) November 28, 2021
Among the prominent leaders who were present in the meeting were Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Anand Sharma from the Congress, T.R. Baalu and Tiruchi Siva from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Sharad Pawar from Nationalist Congress Party, Vinayak Raut from Shiv Sena, Ramgopal Yadav from Samajwadi Party, Satish Mishra from Bahujan Samaj Party, Prasanna Acharya from Biju Janata Dal and Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference.
Trinamool Congress, which has been at the forefront of an ideological battle against BJP, listed issues that its MPs will take up in the upcoming session.
.@AITCofficial in the all-party meeting for winter session: discuss
2. Price Rise
3. MSP Law
4. Federal Structure being weakened
5. Stop Disinvestment
6. BSF jurisdiction
7. Pegasus Issue
8. Covid situation
9. women's reservation bill
10. Don't bulldoze bills
— Saubhadro (@SaubhadraC) November 28, 2021
Given its recent strategy to take on the Congress across the country and poaching multiple Congress leaders, the TMC said that it was “disinterested” in coordinating with the Sonia Gandhi-led party, but said that it was open to discuss matters of the house with other opposition camps. The Mamata Banerjee-led party also decided to skip an all-party meeting called by Kharge on November 29.
NDTV reported that a majority of opposition parties wanted a discussion on the Pegasus snooping row, especially after tech giant Apple has sued the spyware manufacturer, NSO group. Also on the agenda were price rise and unemployment.
Meanwhile, the government has already listed for introduction and passage a bill for repealing the three contested farm laws on the first day of the session. Both Congress and BJP have issued a whip to all their MPs to be present in parliament on Monday.
The Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar will introduce the bill in the house.
The BJP parliamentary party will also meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss its floor strategy. In light of these developments, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha that represents protesting farmers, deferred its “sansad chalo” march until December 4, 2021, when it is expected to announce its future course of action. Until now, it has been insistent on an MSP guarantee law before it withdraws its protest.
M.Venkaiah Naidu, vice-president of India and chair of the upper house, has also called for an all-party meeting on Sunday evening to discuss the proceedings of the winter session. Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla is also likely to meet an all-party delegation on Monday morning.
The winter session of the parliament will begin on Monday and continue until December 23.