Controversies galore as Monsoon Session of Parliament begins today

New Delhi: The Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning tomorrow is set to be dominated by issues such as cow vigilantism, farmer protests, Kashmir unrest, action of law enforcement agencies against some opposition leaders over alleged corruption, and the China standoff in Sikkim.

The Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha will be adjourned on Monday due to the death of sitting members of both the houses and serious proceedings are expected from Tuesday.

The monsoon session is slated to conclude on 11 August.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, made it clear on Sunday that the Congress and other opposition parties would target the government over the issues of Kashmir as well as the standoff with China. Targeting the government on the Kashmir issue, he said the government “closed all doors for dialogue” on it which led to “political suffocation” in the Kashmir Valley. He also observed that the differences with China over Kashmir had become a new focal point and the opposition parties would also seek a debate on the standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan trijunction.

The Congress and several other opposition parties, including the Left, have been critical of the ruling alliance over the cases of violence by self-proclaimed cow protectors who have often attacked Muslims and, in some cases, Dalits.

Seeking to build a firewall for the government from the expected opposition attacks in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made it clear that states should act tough against those violating law in the name of cow protection and insisted that the issue should not be given political and communal colour.

Economic issues, especially alleged lack of jobs, are also likely to be taken up by the opposition parties to corner the government.

Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav has accused the Modi government of failing to fulfil its promises to create jobs and said the opposition parties would raise the matter in Parliament.

Bharatiya Janata Dal (BJP) leaders have said they would take on the opposition over these issues claiming that the government’s track record has been better than the UPA in terms of economy and agriculture growth.

“The government would want the monsoon session of Parliament to be fruitful and constructive. We will also ensure good coordination and communication with the opposition to help get legislative business passed during the session. “If the opposition demands a discussion on some current issues, we will discuss the same in the business advisory committee and the chairman will decide the time and date of discussion,” MoS (parliamentary affairs) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told PTI.

If parties like Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and Lalu Prasad- led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) attack the government over the action of law enforcement agencies such as CBI and the ED against their leaders over alleged corruption, the treasury benches too would use the issue to underline their anti-corruption credentials.

The issue could also see a division in the opposition ranks as the Left and the JDU are unlikely to rush to defend the TMC and the RJD respectively on the matter of corruption.

Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said 21 bills were pending in the Lok Sabha and 42 in the Rajya Sabha. Nine of these legislations, including The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017, have been passed by the Lok Sabha and are listed for passage by the Rajya Sabha.

Other crucial legislations include the labour code bill, the extension of GST in Jammu and Kashmir bill, the banking resolution bill and ‘The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017.