Rescheduled monsoon session to be held in September

The monsoon session of parliament, earlier expected to begin Aug 11, will now be convened in the second of week of September, according to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi.

The minister said this decision had been taken because the government was trying to focus on restoring peace in violence-hit Jammu region.

"The government is keen to convene the session immediately to take up legislation to provide social security and other welfare measures to the unorganised sector. But the government wants to bring back normalcy in (the) troubled areas," the minister said.

The parliament session was earlier expected to open Aug 11 but it is being delayed following troubles in Jammu and Kashmir following protests over the Amarnath yatra as well as back-to-back terrorist attacks in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

"The UPA government has full faith in parliament. But we do not want to be distracted in our attempts to bring peace," Vayalar Ravi added.

A special two-day session was called in July to move a trust motion, after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was reduced to a minority in parliament after the Left withdrew support to the ruling coalition. The Manmohan Singh-led government proved its majority support in the Lok Sabha July 22.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which has since become a vocal critic of the government, has vowed to give a hard time to the government in parliament.

CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat has dared the UPA government to try passing finance bills, including pension, banking and insurance sector legislation, in parliament.

"Let's see," said Vayalar Ravi, when asked about Karat's warning.

According to Congress sources, the government is concerned about the smooth functioning of parliament in the wake of the cash-for-votes scam that erupted during the July 22 trust vote.

A seven-member Lok Sabha panel, set up to look into allegations by three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs that they were bribed to abstain in the trust vote, is likely to seek more time to submit its report. It was expected to conclude the findings by Aug 11.

Congress MP Kishore Chandra Deo, who heads the committee set up by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, is expected to seek more time to complete the report. The panel has already viewed the video and audiotapes in the sting operation conducted by a television channel.

Three BJP MPs - Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora - stunned the nation by brandishing wads of cash in the Lok Sabha shortly before the Manmohan Singh government was to face the trust vote.

They accused Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmad Patel of offering them bribes to abstain.

Congress leaders, embarrassed over the incident, indicated they were not in a position to face parliament unless the committee came out with its findings.

"The opposition and the Left are prepared to disrupt the proceedings over these issues. The government wants to prepare itself for defence before convening the session," said a Congress leader who did not want to be identified.

5 August
The Economic Times


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