Not a Tradition: Govt as Modi Skips All-Party Meet Before Winter Session; Oppn Eyes Pegasus, Price Rise

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Not a Tradition: Govt as Modi Skips All-Party Meet Before Winter Session; Oppn Eyes Pegasus, Price Rise
© Provided by News18 Not a Tradition: Govt as Modi Skips All-Party Meet Before Winter Session; Oppn Eyes Pegasus, Price Rise

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday skipped the all-party meeting called ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, with the government clarifying that his attendance was not a “tradition” to be followed as the Opposition questioned his absence.

The prominent leaders of the Opposition who attended the meeting included Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Anand Sharma from Congress; Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien from TMC; TR Baalu and Tiruchi Siva from DMK; Sharad Pawar from NCP; Vinayak Raut from Shiv Sena; Ramgopal Yadav from Samajwadi Party; Satish Mishra from BSP; Prasanna Acharya from BJD; National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah; Balvinder Singh Bhunder from Akali Dal; Vijaysai Reddy from YSR Congress; Jayadev Galla from TDP; Binoy Viswam from CPI; and Sanjay Singh from AAP.

The major issues raised by the opposition parties were the government’s plans to bring in a law for MSP for which farmers continue to sit on the streets even after the repeal of the contentious farm laws. The opposition also sought answers from the government on why Union MoS for Home Affairs Ajay Misra Teni was not sacked after the Lakhimpur incident.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said his party raised the issues of MSP, withdrawal of the three bills and Covid-19 management among others. He also questioned the prime minister’s absence from the meeting.

The government was quick to respond to the concern, saying the tradition to attend the all-party meeting was established by Modi after he became the prime minister and that no other leaders in the past would come for such a meeting. “It was a tradition that PM Modi started. Nobody else ever came to this meeting so it is not fair for the Opposition to raise such questions. Today, the prime minister was not able to come for this meeting.”

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress raised concerns about the “bulldozing” of bills in Parliament without proper scrutiny, saying they would like to discuss the issues concerning the public like price rise of essential commodities, increasing the BSF deployment in border states and Pegasus leak.

Left parties raised concerns about the rice and petrol prices and asked the government to come clean on Teni whose son is under the scanner in the Lakhimpur case in which eight people, including four farmers, were killed.

Regional parties like RJD asked for MSP to be brought under a law and also demanded a detailed discussion on Pegasus.

The Aam Aadmi Party led by Sanjay Singh also demanded a detailed and a specific assurance on behalf of the union government about MSP and the government’s plans for the kin of farmers who died due to the ongoing farmer agitation. Demanding compensation for the farmers’ families, they also raised the issue of BSF deployment in a place like Punjab, saying it would lead to unrest. After being repeatedly interrupted while speaking, Singh walked out of the meeting.

NDA ally NPP’s leader Agatha Sangma raised the issue of the government not notifying the rules for CAA which was passed in 2019 and said this was a concern not just of her party but also all the regional parties in the north-east.

On its behalf, the Union government assured political leaders that discussions will take place on all crucial issues and the government is ready for discussion and debate. The government sought the cooperation of the Opposition on the passage of crucial bills that concern the public at large.

The Winter Session of Parliament will get underway on November 29 and will go on till December 23 with 20 sittings amid strict Covid-19 protocol.

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