Even as the opposition is riled by the government’s sudden and unilateral special parliament session call, Congress parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought details of the government’s agenda for the session. Gandhi said the session was called without any prior consultation with the opposition.
In her letter, Gandhi wrote, “You have convened a special five-day session of the Parliament beginning 18 September, 2023. I must point out that this Special Session has been convened without any consultation with other political parties. None of us have any idea of its agenda.”
The government will hold a ‘Special Session’ of Parliament from September 18-22, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi announced last week while keeping the agenda under the wraps.
She added that the only information that the Opposition had received was that five days had been allocated for “Government Business”.
Congress leaders earlier said the plan for Gandhi to write to Modi was endorsed by all Opposition’s 24 INDIA bloc constituents with a presence in Parliament.
Gandhi said the Opposition would definitely participate in the upcoming session to raise public concerns, and listed nine issues hoping they would be taken up during the special sittings.
She wrote, “We most certainly want to participate in the Special Session because it will give us an opportunity to raise matters of public concern and importance. I earnestly hope that time will be allocated under the appropriate Rules for a discussion and debate on these issues.”
The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) decided in two meetings – one of the 28-member group and another of the Congress – that it wants to discuss fresh allegations against the Adani Group, price rise, unemployment, the Manipur situation and Centre-state relations in the five-day session beginning September 18, sources said.
Highlighting several issues, Gandhi wrote, “I earnestly hope that in a spirit of constructive cooperation, these issues will be taken up in the forthcoming Special Session.”
Issues mentioned by Gandhi in the letter also include, current economic situation with focus on increasing price rise of essential commodities, growing unemployment, rise in inequalities and distress of MSMEs, commitment made by the government to farmers in regard to MS and other demands raised by them; rise in communal tension in different States like Haryana, continued occupation of Indian territory by China and challenges to our sovereignty on our borders in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, urgent need for a caste census, damages being inflicted on Centre-State relations and impact of natural disasters caused by extreme floods in some states and drought in others.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “Usually when special sessions are held, it is through mutual consent and discussion among several political parties… This is for the first time that we do not have any details for the agenda.”