New Delhi, Oct.6 : The stage is being set for holding the next general elections in 2009.
Highly placed political sources said that the current Lok Sabha would be dissolved on October 27, to allow various political parties enough time to prepare their respective strategies for next year's polls.
The Parliament is set to meet on October 17 at a time when the festive season will be in full swing. The special session will be a combination of both the monsoon and winter sessions and is scheduled to end on November 21.
Old timers do not recall any sitting of Parliament during the festival season. Usually, the winter session of Parliament begins in the third week of November.
Keeping the holidays in view, both Houses of Parliament will effectively meet for 24 days.
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had decided to schedule a meeting of Parliament on October 17 well after India secured a waiver on its proposed civil nuclear cooperation deal with the United States from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and had it notified.
Interestingly, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has termed the special session as the "second part" of the 14th session of the present Lok Sabha. Implicitly, the two-day special session for the trust vote in July has been referred to as the first part of the session.
The UPA Government has used this time after the first part of the 14th session of the present Lok Sabha, to go ahead with the next steps on the US-India nuclear deal i.e. to secure an IAEA India-specific safeguards and a waiver from the NSG, ensure that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's fourth visit to the United States went off smoothly and ink three landmark agreements with France, including one for civil nuclear cooperation.
Domestically, the government has sought to rein in inflation, bring down the prices of essential commodities, take steps to improve the law and order situation in several states, including Karnataka and Orissa, which recently faced the brunt of anti-Christian attacks, besides tightening security along the country's borders to prevent further infiltrations and violations of a November 2003 cease-fire.
The opposition, on the other hand, has blamed the government for avoiding a continuous session to save itself from a discussion on some crucial details of the nuclear deal, the price rise and a review of law and order across the country.
Highly placed sources also said that the Congress has hired a well-known public relations firm to draw up a blue print for next year's elections, which in all probability, will be held in February 2009.
The UPA Government need not fear being cornered by the opposition on the nuclear deal as according to Rule 338 of the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure, the same question cannot be raised twice during a session.
In other words, the Opposition will not be able to bring another no-confidence motion against the government during the sandwiched session.
Part two of the special session will conclude on November 23.
The official statement to convene the parliamentary session was made by the Lok Sabha secretariat on the day when some political parties led by the Left Front called on President Pratibha Patil urging the government to immediately convene a session.
The Indian Parliament normally meets thrice a year. While the budget session is held in two parts beginning February and concludes in April-May, monsoon session starts in July and concludes in September, while winter session starts in November and concludes by December-end.