24 April, New Delhi
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Sunday presided over an all-party meeting and made a strong pitch for the smooth functioning of parliament session beginning on Monday.
The meeting was held to discuss ways to ensure disruption-free parliament, whose session will continue till May 13.
The speaker sought the cooperation of floor leaders of all parties to ensure a smooth transaction of business in the lower house even as differences remained on when and how to discuss the dismissal of Harish Rawat’s government in Uttarakhand and imposition of President’s Rule.
“All parties have promised they will cooperate to ensure a fruitful and functional session,” Mahajan later told reporters.
The new session of parliament begins on April 25 since the budget session was prorogued last month to facilitate the promulgation of an ordinance to meet the financial requirements of Uttarakhand, where President’s Rule was imposed on March 27.
Government sources said they were ready to discuss all issues in both houses of parliament, including drought and imposition of central rule in Uttarakhand, but with a rider.
“We are ready to discuss all issues provided they do not clash with matters that are sub judice,” a source quoted a government representative as saying at the meeting.
Later, Mahajan too said: “The issue of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand is sub judice. I don’t think it can be discussed before April 27.”
The Supreme Court has stayed till April 27 — the next date of hearing — the Uttarakhand High Court order that set aside President’s Rule in the hill state.
“Normally, the budget session is split into two sessions. This time, it will be an entirely new session as both houses of parliament were prorogued to facilitate constitutional requirements of Uttarakhand,” said a parliamentary official.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were among those who attended the meeting.
“All the parties brought up the issue of drought in various parts of the country,” Mahajan told reporters.
During the session, government sources said, efforts to get the support of opposition parties for the passage of key legislations, including long-pending Goods and Services Tax Bill, are expected to yield positive results.
Besides, a bill to replace the Enemy Property Ordinance, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and Companies Amendment Bill will also be taken up, informed sources said.
Issues pertaining to the Ishrat Jahan case and the Malegaon blast may figure prominently, especially in the Lok Sabha, BJP leaders said.
Congress Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma has given a notice for the suspension of Question Hour to discuss the Uttarakhand crisis.
Meanwhile, some MPs from states where electioneering is at its peak have complained about the timing of the parliament session.
“With election process on in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it is natural that MPs from these states will be campaigning for their parties and candidates. I think the timing of this session is not suitable,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist’s P. Karunakaran.
AIADMK MP K. Kamaraj, who represents Kallakurichi constituency in Tamil Nadu, also endorsed the view.