New Delhi: The government has given the green light to a “special Parliament gathering” scheduled for September 18–22. Union Minister Pralhad Joshi dropped this news on X (formerly Twitter), emphasising that five meetings are on the agenda. He’s looking forward to fruitful discussions and debates during this period, calling it an “Amrit Kaal.”
Currently, the government has kept mum about the specific matters to be discussed.
Rumours are swirling that this exclusive session could be the initial step in transitioning from the old Parliament building to the new one. The session might commence in the old venue and conclude in the brand-new Parliament House. Quite the architectural shift!
Government insiders, however, have hinted at the possible agenda. It’s expected to encompass Amrit Kaal festivities and India’s ascent to the status of a ‘developed nation’. So, while there’s no indication of any significant bills set for approval, there’s a focus on commemorations and the nation’s developmental journey.
Reaction of Opposition to Government’s Decision
The decision to convene the special session of Parliament during Ganesh Chaturthi, a significant Hindu festival in India, has faced criticism from several opposition leaders, particularly those from Maharashtra. They have expressed their concerns about the clash of dates, considering Ganesh Chaturthi “India’s most important festival.”
Shiv Sena UBT’s Priyanka Chaturvedi expressed her surprise at the choice of these particular dates and mentioned that it seems to go against Hindu sentiments. Additionally, Supriya Sule from the Nationalist Congress Party has called for the session to be rescheduled, highlighting the importance of the Ganpati Festival in Maharashtra. She has urged the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister to take this aspect into consideration while planning the session.
The opposition leaders are emphasising the significance of cultural and religious observances and are seeking an adjustment in the session dates to avoid any conflict with the celebrations of this major festival.
Congress Accuses Government of Strategic Timing with Special Parliament Session
The Congress party has also responded to the announcement of the special Parliament session. Party spokesperson Jairam Ramesh referred to it as a tactic to control the news cycle, similar to how Prime Minister Modi operates. He pointed out two key developments: first, the recent news about the Modani scam dominating headlines, and second, the upcoming mega opposition meeting in Mumbai.
Ramesh suggests that to divert attention from these developments, the government has decided to call a 5-day special session of Parliament shortly after the Monsoon session concluded just three weeks ago. He notes that the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the issue will persist both inside and outside Parliament.
Interestingly, the timing of this special session coincides with the third meeting of the opposition bloc called I.N.D.I.A., which adds another layer of significance to the situation.
The upcoming special Parliament session is set against the backdrop of several significant developments. Firstly, India recently hosted the G20 Summit in Delhi, a major international event that took place in the national capital from September 8 to 10.
Additionally, the session occurs following an important revelation in the Supreme Court. During the court’s proceedings on multiple petitions challenging the government’s decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated that the decision regarding the timing of elections in the former state now rests with central and state electoral bodies. This statement adds an extra layer of context to the session.
Recapping the Monsoon Session of Parliament
The previous session of Parliament was known as the Monsoon Session, which began on July 20 and ended on August 12. During this session, the government managed to pass 23 bills. However, it was a session filled with protests from the opposition on various issues. These included concerns about violence in Manipur and disagreements over the contentious Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
One of the most significant events of this session was a dramatic three-day-long debate on a ‘no confidence’ motion. This motion was introduced by the Congress and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, a ruling party in Telangana. During this debate, prominent leaders like Congress MP Rahul Gandhi took on the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the government’s response, setting the stage for the important Lok Sabha battle of 2024.