The Congress and other Opposition parties will demand a full-scale discussion on the consequences of the farm bills when the legislation would be brought for repeal, at the all-party meeting on November 28 that would be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Opposition leaders said on Monday.
The PM’s attendance in this customary all-party meeting ahead of the session might have added significance this time in the backdrop of his announcement on Guru Purab that the three controversial farm laws would be repealed.
The meeting, convened by the parliamentary affairs minister, would discuss the government’s agenda and Opposition’s demand, the list of official bills and items for lengthy debate. But the Opposition had altered its earlier plan to corner the party in power over a host of issues including Rafale and Pegasus. Now, the three bills form the centrality of the Opposition actions in the session to take on the government’s policy-making and eyeing dividend ahead of the polls.
A senior Opposition leader on condition of anonymity said, “We will definitely demand a proper debate on the repeal bill. There are many questions to be answered. Why it took a year and 700 deaths for the government to repeal those flawed bills?”
The PM had always addressed these all-party meetings at the end of the discussions. This time too, his speech would give the general direction of the government’s strategy for the session. The PM had on earlier occasions maintained that MPs must work for the national cause and there is room for debate on all topics.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi have signalled the fight will continue over new demands for farm sector. In her statement on Friday, Sonia Gandhi mentioned remunerative price for farmers and “the huge increase in the cost of diesel and agricultural items used in the fields”.
Rahul’s letter to the farmers stated: “The struggle is not over yet. Getting remunerative MSP for agricultural produce, ending the controversial Electricity Amendment Act, reducing tax burden on everything used for farming, reducing the unexpected hike in diesel prices and the debt burden are serious issues.”
Apart from the repeal bill, the government is expected to bring the data privacy bill for passage during the session. The other two important bills for the ruling dispensation are the national university for pharmaceutical and research amendment bill and the assisted reproductive bill that is pending for some time now.
Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will also chair meetings of their respective Houses. The winter session, starting from November 29, is important as the last session was nearly washed out over the Pegasus snooping row.