Criticising the government over the upcoming session of Parliament, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the Centre is keeping "legislative grenades" up its sleeves to be unleashed at the last moment.
On September 5, ending several days of speculation in political circles, the Centre said that the five-day session of Parliament will begin with a discussion on India's 75-year parliamentary journey. The government also listed a Bill aimed at overturning the effect of a Supreme Court (SC) verdict regarding the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).
'Much ado about nothing'
Ramesh termed the session "much ado about nothing". On X (formerly known as Twitter), Ramesh wrote: "Finally, after pressure from Sonia Gandhi's letter to the Prime Minister, the Modi Govt has condescended to announce the agenda for the special 5-day session of Parliament beginning September 18."
"The agenda as published at the moment, is much ado about nothing — all this could have waited till the Winter session in November. I am sure the legislative grenades are being kept up their sleeves to be unleashed at the last moment as usual. Parde ke peeche kuch aur hai!" the Congress leader said.
Nonetheless, he added that parties affiliated with the INDIA alliance will oppose the "insidious" CEC Bill.
The special session of Parliament
The Centre listed a special discussion on Parliament's journey of 75 years starting from the Samvidhan Sabha on the first day of the five-day session of Parliament beginning September 18. On August 31, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi announced that Parliament's special session will be held from September 18 to 22.
The other listed business for Lok Sabha includes The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, already passed by Rajya Sabha on August 3, 2023. Additionally, The Post Office Bill 2023 has also been listed in the Lok Sabha business.
The announcement about the special session had taken political circles by surprise, leading to animated speculation on the purpose behind the announcement. Leaders of the INDIA bloc had been demanding that the government make the "special session" agenda public. According to the government bulletin, the five-day session will mark the 13th session of the 17th Lok Sabha and the 261st session of the Rajya Sabha.
Congress leader KC Venugopal wrote on Twitter that the session's agenda announced thus far does not speak of a single issue of public importance raised by Sonia Gandhi in her letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Centre chose headline management. 140 crore Indians are sorely disappointed looking at this agenda, he added.
The government has also called for an all-party meeting on September 17, a day before the special session of Parliament commences this month.