Opposition breathes fire, govt in a fix over session dates

Hindustan Times, July 08, 2013

With a hostile opposition waiting to corner the UPA and not offering any assurance for the smooth functioning of Parliament, the UPA managers are taking time to finalise the schedule of the much-awaited monsoon session. The monsoon session usually starts from the third week of July and runs till the middle of August. Last year, the session was pushed back to August for presidential polls. Top Congress sources said that this year too, the session is unlikely to start before August.

As uncertainty looms large over its schedule, the BJP on Monday accused the Congress of being afraid of facing the Houses. ?The Congress party does not want to face Parliament because of its failure on corruption, price rise, economic crisis and other fronts,? BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar alleged.

CPI?s Gurudas Dasgupta too, accused the ?weak? UPA government of not facing Parliament as it would expose its ?non-performance?. A section of the opposition had also said earlier that the UPA was preparing for an early poll.

This monsoon session is seen as virtually UPA?s last opportunity to push some of its key pending bills before the general elections next year. In the last session, the UPA had listed 35 bills but could not pass any legislation except the two budgets and the criminal law amendments.

Top sources claimed that consultations are on with allies and a section of the opposition on garnering support for key bills on land act amendments, food ordinance, pension fund and insurance act amendments before deciding the session?s schedule. Recently, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath specifically asked for Hindi versions of the food and the land bill from the ministries concerned, indicating talks with SP, BSP and JD(U).

Technically, the UPA has time till November 7 to convene the session. The law states that there should not be a gap of six months between the last date of the previous session and the first day of the next session. The budget session was adjourned on May 8.

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