New Delhi / Kolkata
Opposition parties on Sunday objected to the government’s offer for a joint address to all MPs by the PM on Covid at the Parliament annexe, saying this will be “highly irregular” at a time when Parliament will be in session and it aims to “bypass” norms. Leaders, including from Trinamool and the CPI(M), said when the pandemic and issues related to it can be discussed on the floor of the House, what was the need to go “outside”.
In an all-party meet on Sunday, a day before the Monsoon Session of Parliament begins, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi announced PM Modi will address MPs of both the Houses — Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha — on July 20 and speak on the pandemic.
“What is the need to go outside Parliament? Any address should be on the floor of the House. This is another idea to bypass Parliament. Stop making a mockery of the Parliament. How far will Modi and (Union Home Minister Amit) Shah go? Just when we thought that they cannot go lower, they want to make a presentation in the annexe and not on the floor of the House,” TMC Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien said.
The meeting was attended by 33 parties ahead of the Monsoon session which will conclude on August 13. Talking to FPJ, Trinamool MP Sudip Bandhopadhyay said they raised questions about vaccination and fuel price hike.
“There is irregularity of vaccination in West Bengal and several people are still waiting to get their first dose. We want the BJP government to give it in writing about their plans and what they think about the fuel price rise. Fuel prices are dropping globally while the Centre is raising it. What is their farm policy,” said Sudip.
PM chairs meeting of NDA floor leaders
PM Modi chaired a meeting of NDA floor leaders on Sunday, a day ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. Apart from Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President JP Nadda were present.
Leaders of several NDA constituent parties were in attendance. These included Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel, JD(U) leader Ram Nath Thakur, AIADMK leader A Navaneethakrishnan, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale and LJP leader Pashupati Paras among others.
Sonia forms groups for effective work: Sonia Gandhi, as chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, has formed 2 groups of 7 members each in the 2 House to coordinate the party’s effective functioning in both the Houses of Parliament, meet daily during the session and inter-session when the Parliament issues are concerned.
The Lok Sabha group consists of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (leader), Gaurav Gogoi (dy leader), K Suresh (chief whip), Ravneet Singh Bittu and Mahickam Tagore (both whips), Manish Tewari and Dr Shashi Tharoor. The Rajya Sabha group is headed by leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. Its members are: Anand Sharma (deputy leader), Jairam Ramesh (chief whip), Mrs Ambika Soni, P Chidambaram, Digvijaya Singh and KC Venugopal.
Kharge is designated as the convener to hold the joint meetings of these groups.