The ongoing farmers’ protest for the past 11 months and the Pegasus spyware controversy forced the opposition to create pandemonium in both the houses of Parliament in the Monsoon Session. It resulted in the session being the worst in terms of productivity among all the last six sessions.
The farmers’ protest would complete a year on November 26, most probably three days before the Winter Session of Parliament would commence. The opposition is likely to continue with their protest over the three farm laws. The same would be the case with the Pegasus spyware case in which the Narendra Modi government is on the backfoot.
Last month, the Supreme Court appointed an independent expert technical committee headed by its former judge, Justice RV Raveendran, to examine the opposition’s charges that the government snooped on politicians, journalists, and others with the help of Israeli spyware, Pegasus.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana Noting, while noting that the snooping allegations were “grave” and truth should be out, asked the panel to submit its report “expeditiously”.
Besides the agri-marketing laws and Pegasus spyware, the opposition is likely to raise two more issues – the enhanced jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in the states and promulgation of two ordinances on November 14 to extend the terms of the directors of Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the existing two years to five years.
The two opposition parties – the Congress and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) – which were most vocal during the Monsoon Session have already raised strong objections to the two ordinances.
Hitting out at the Centre, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned the government for promulgating the ordinances just two weeks ahead of the forthcoming Winter Session.
TMC’s leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’ Brien said on Twitter, “Two brazen Ordinances extend ED and CBI Director terms from 2 to 5 years. #Parliament Winter Session begins two weeks from now. Be rest assured, Opposition parties will do all it takes to stop India from turning into an elected autocracy.”
Two brazen Ordinances extend ED and CBI Director terms from 2🦜🦜 to 5 years 🦜🦜🦜🦜🦜#Parliament Winter Session begin… https://t.co/shc0SecNNe
— Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) 1636947391000
The TMC has clearly hinted that it would strongly oppose the two ordinances in the Winter Session. The other opposition parties may soon decide to come together to unitedly raise the matter and try to corner the government in Parliament.
If this happens, the forthcoming Winter Session is likely to meet the fate of the previous session.
Of the last six sessions of Parliament so far after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed NDA government came to power in May 2019, the Monsoon Session registered the poorest performance in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the ex-officio chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, had broken down while lamenting the behavior of some of the members and the poor performance of the House.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla too had expressed anguish at the low productivity of the Lower House which, he said, was much below expectations.
Will the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament be the same?