NEW DELHI: Lining up key legislative proposals before the last week of the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, the Modi government is gearing up to aim to put the Opposition in a spot even while a complete washout appears looming.
The government is bracing up for pushing the Constitution 127th Amendment bill to give the power to states to prepare their own list of other backward castes (OBCs), while there are indications that the contentious Electricity Amendment Bill, which is being strongly opposed by Kerala and West Bengal, may also come before the two Houses.
While as many as 15 bills have been passed either by the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha in the ongoing session amid ruckus, the next week is set to be different as a Constitution Amendment bill cannot be taken up if the House is not in order.
The bill, seeking to restore the power of the states to draw their OBC lists, is politically sensitive, and the government is hoping that the Opposition parties will allow the procedures required for its passage by allowing discussion with both the Houses in order.
“The government has regularly been reaching out to the Opposition parties, and had even agreed for discussions on three issues raised by them, namely situations arising out of Covid-19, farmers’ bills and consequent agitations, and prices of petroleum products,” Union Minister of state for the Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal told this newspaper.
“Even on Pegasus issue, the discussion could have begun in the Rajya Sabha after the suo moto statement by minister Aswini Vaishnav. But the Trinamool Congress MP heckled him and tore paper,” he added.
However, the Opposition, particularly the TMC and the Left, are not likely to moderate their aggression amid indications emerging that the Electricity Amendment Bill could be taken up by the two Houses in the last week.
The bill seeks to further open up power distribution sector with the aim to spur competition, but is being opposed on the grounds that it will provide more profitable options to the private players, who may not invest in infrastructure upgradation.
The ruling BJP and the TMC continue to be at the loggerheads in the monsoon session of Parliament.
While the Trinamool is reportedly putting up conditions for withdrawal of suspension of its MPs from the Rajya Sabha, government sources said that the presiding officer can consider calling them back only if they apologise for their actions.
“Even senior BJP leaders in the past, after being suspended for agitation in the House when the party was in the Opposition, had apologised. Why cannot the TMC MPs apologise,” said a Union minister, while speaking to this newspaper.
The government, however, appears determined to push maximum of the bills in the last week of the monsoon session, concluding on August 13.