Parliament in trouble from day one
Parliament is all set to be in trouble from day one of its month-long winter session from Tuesday, with the joint strategy of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the left parties to force issues of black money and price rise for discussion first before allowing any other business.
On Tuesday, when P Chidambaram stands up in Lok Sabha to answer question related to union home ministry there were expectations, that entire BJP and NDA bench with AIADMK will shout him down, a drama which Congress enacted during Atal Bihari vajpayee regime on George Fernandes.
The Lok Sabha calendar states that on Tuesday, home ministry questions will be taken for answers.
The Rajya Sabha, in any case, will be adjourned on Tuesday in memory of two sitting members -- Dr. Ram Dayal Munda of Jharkhand and Silvius Condpan of Assam -- who died since the last session and as such all the firework will be in the Lok Sabha.
BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani, who just completed his Jan Chetna Yatra on Sunday, wants to be master of the Opposition assault as he is moving an adjournment motion while the Left will press for an adjournment motion on the price rise. Both have agreed to back each other and see to it that no other business is allowed until these issues are thoroughly discussed.
Chidu's boycott: The Congress core group met here Monday evening after the BJP announced boycott of Home Minister P Chidambaram in Parliament for no action against him for connivance with arrested telecom minister A Raja in the 2G scam and trying to throw mud on its senior leader late Pramod Mahajan by digging out a January 2002 order of him and making the CBI register a case of loss to the exchequer.
On behalf of the NDA, senior BJP leader S S Ahluwalia told reporters after a meeting of its leaders that Chidambaram will be boycotted until he is dismissed or resigns from the government to allow the CBI probe his dubious role in the 2G spectrum allocation.
The government has lined up 31 legislations for adoption in 21 sittings and these include the Lokpal Bill, the Constitution amendment bill for 33 per cent women's reservation in Lok Sabha and Assemblies, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill as also the controversial Pension Fund Bill cleared by the Cabinet only last week.
Much of the government business may remain hanging as seen from the NDA and the Left joining hands to corner the government, lining up half a dozen issues that may see either the washout of the regular proceedings on as many days or their consideration preventing other business.
Ahluwalia said the Opposition will pull up the government for its attempt to make redundant the Nuclear safety act passed by Parliament by framing the rules last week that limit the liability of the foreign suppliers going against the spirit of the law.
The issues that the NDA has lined up for battering the government day after day include the plight of the cotton growers in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, acute fertiliser shortage, no procurement of paddy, forcing farmers sell at loss, FDI (foreign direct investment) in multi-product retail despite opposition by the Parliamentary panel, new poverty line drawn to defeat the tom-tomed food security bill, and the Centre-state relations.
The only Bill on which the Opposition may not counter and rather pressurise to get it passed in this very session is the Lokpal Bill, but that comes only after the standing committee headed by Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhavi submits its report on December 7.
Another anti-graft bill that may be introduced during the session is the Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill publicised at the start of the month inviting opinions and objections by November 23.
The national food security bill may also be introduced during the session, though it is still in the making as it is being flung between the Prime Minister's Office and 10 Janpath for repeated changes, but its implementation may come only in the next financial year as it is bound to be referred to the standing committee after tabling. Other key bills listed for introduction are Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill and Nuclear Regulatory Authority Bill.
A crucial land bill that the Congress could have showcased in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections has been taken out of the government agenda because of politics being played by former BJP minister Sumitra Mahajan, who heads the related standing committee. Despite persuasion, she has made it clear that the committee got hundreds of suggestions for improving the Bill and as such she can not hurry with a report in this session.