Winter session camaraderie: Opposition gets its act together

New Delhi, Nov 30: Opposition parties seem to have got their act together in the winter session of parliament in putting the BJP government on the mat over the black money issue in the first week itself.

Opposition bonding was visible on the very first working day of the session Tuesday when opposition parties from across the spectrum protested vehemently on the black money issue.


After the lackadaisical attitude in the last monsoon session, it was evident that the parties had opened a dialogue process and decided to corner the Narendra Modi government, which appears invincible due to its big majority in the Lok Sabha, with better floor coordination.

"Yes, of course, discussions were held. We are in regular touch," senior Congress MP and former parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath told IANS.

Not only the Congress, which seems to be still in a state of shock with the miniscule number of seats it won in the general election, but also the Trinamool Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal were seen cooperating and coordinating.

While the Congress gave notice for an adjournment motion over the black money issue in the Lok Sabha, the TMC demanded suspension of question hour for two consecutive days.

What was evident was the increased bonhomie between the Congress and the TMC, which is being targeted by the BJP in West Bengal over the Saradha chit fund scam and the Bardhman blasts issue.

Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed told IANS: "There has been regular dialogue between opposition parties. It has been decided to have a considerable amount of floor management between the parties".

Ahmed said that such camaraderie would be on display in the future too in this session. "National issues and issues concerning the poor we will discuss and take up together," he said.

Kamal Nath said the Congress is likely to take up issues concerning the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA) and the rising prices of agricultural commodities jointly with the other parties in this session.

The Samajwadi Party MPs -- though they make critical remarks against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) -- are by and large supporting the opposition cause along with Left parties.

SP leader Dharmendra Yadav was seen running to the podium in the Lok Sabha every time the Trinamool Congress raised slogans with their black umbrellas or when Congress president Sonia Gandhi would nudge her young MPs like Deepinder Singh Hooda to go to the podium as well.

Yadav said the issues (on which they protested) were similar.

"You must be aware that Mulayam Singh-ji met some leaders in the run up to the session," he said adding: "It is the duty of the opposition to come together."

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), however, appears not to have its entire heart with the opposition camp.

It was evident when Mayawati did not walk out along with others in the Rajya Sabha on the black money issue, and neither did her MPs in the Lok Sabha.

Her warmth was evident Friday as well when she did not go ballistic against the government on the reported killings of Indian hostages by the Islamic State in Iraq as the other opposition parties sought to corner External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Mayawati's measured speech was even appreciated by Sushma Swaraj.

The winter session of parliament, which began Nov 24 has a huge legislative agenda, but the ones most keenly watched will be the fate of the Insurance Bill, which seeks to raise the FDI limit in the sector to 49 percent, the changes proposed to the Land acquisition bill and the NREGA.


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