Both, the government and the Opposition must ensure that this session works
Even as all eyes will be on the assembly election results, the final full-fledged session of the 16th Lok Sabha commences today. The winter session — scheduled till January 8 — will see 20 sittings. It has been a mixed year in Parliament. While the post-recess budget session was entirely washed out, the government’s willingness to confront a no-confidence vote paved the way for a productive monsoon session in which a lot of legislative business got done.
Given that the Parliament will be meeting right after a set of assembly elections, and four months before the general elections, it is inevitable that intensely competitive politics will play out. A range of issues is bound to surface. The Opposition will target the government on its handling of institutional relationships, including the divide within the Central Bureau of Investigation and tensions with the Reserve Bank of India. It will bring up the Rafale allegations and also, on the back of the massive farmers’ march in New Delhi, put forth demands for loan waivers and hike in Minimum Support Prices. This is all the prerogative of the Opposition. What is crucial, however, is that these issues are raised, debates happen, and civility is maintained. Obstruction and an impasse leading to the constant adjournments must not be the way forward in this session. For its part, the government is under increasing pressure from its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, as well as its core support base to move ahead with a legislation on the Ram temple. This is a hugely sensitive issue with deep implications for both the secular fabric of the country and inter-communal relations. The government must be advised caution.