New Delhi, Dec 15, 2020-
Hours after Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the Winter Session of the Parliament will not be convened due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Budget Session is likely to be called in January 2021, the Congress on Tuesday hit out at the government, saying the Leader of Opposition was not consulted on the matter.
In a tweet, Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh said, “The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha was not consulted. Pralhad Joshi is as usual departing from the truth.”
Another Rajya Sabha MP of the Congress, Ripun Bora, also slammed the government. “So, a party that runs around holding rallies, public gatherings and roadshows on hourly basis everyday goes on to cancel the Winter Session due to Covid-19,” he tweeted.
“The shamelessness of the BJP has no bounds. But we will ensure that they are not be able to run away from questions on the farmers’ issue,” Bora, who is also the Assam Congress chief, said.
The remarks of the Congress leaders came after Joshi in his letter to leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, made it clear that no Winter Session of the Parliament will be convened due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Budget Session is likely to be called in January 2021.
Chowdhury, in his letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on December 3, had mentioned a number of issues such as farmers’ agitation, status/preparation of Covid-19 vaccine, Chinese intrusion, economic slowdown and unemployment scenario to press for a short Winter Session.
Referring to that letter to Birla, Joshi wrote to Chowdhury that the winter months are crucial for managing the pandemic because of the recent spurt in cases during this period, particularly in Delhi.
“At present we are in the middle of December and a Covid vaccine is expected very soon. In this regard, I have informally contacted the floor leaders of various political parties and they have expressed their concerns about the ongoing pandemic and opined of doing away with the Winter Session,” Joshi said.
“The government is willing to have the next session of Parliament at the earliest. It would be appropriate to have the Budget Session in January 2021 keeping in mind the unprecedented circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Joshi said.
The Minister also pointed out that the Monsoon Session was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Monsson Session of the Parliament in September this year was one of the most productive sessions of Parliament with 27 Bills getting passed by both the Houses.
Former Union minister Manish Tewari, who even protested at the Jantar Mantar demanding the session be held, said, “Never before in the history of the Indian Parliament has parlimentary democracy been subverted in this manner. When the standing committees of the Parliament are meeting, joint parliamentary committees are being convened three times a week, then why is the government running away from the Winter Session and hiding behind a pandemic that it has thoughrly and absolutely mismanaged?”
“The country is facing humongous challenges, China is still illegally occupying our land, the economy is in recession, farmers are on the streets and there is no clarity as to how the vaccine would be administered. Never has this travesty happened going back to 1952,” added Tewari. (Agency)