NEW DELHI – A day before Parliament’s winter session, the Opposition on Sunday said it will raise issues of economic slowdown and farm distress, and demanded that detained Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah be allowed to attend the House.
Speaking with reporters after a government-convened all-party meeting, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also said that former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram should be allowed to attend Parliament. He said there have been instances in past when in similar circumstances MPs have been allowed in the House.
Azad said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government assure the Opposition that whatever it wants to raise in the House it can, but in practice that doesn’t happen.
“They want to pass bills without without scrutiny of the standing committees,” Azad said after the all-party meeting that was attended by Modi, BJP chief and Home Minister Amit Shah, Union minister Thawarchand Gehlot and several senior opposition leaders such as Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma.
“Unemployment, economic crisis, pollution …we will raise issues connected to the common man. Already a number of members have raised the issue specially about the detention of Farooq Abdullah. He should be allowed to attend the discussion in the House,” said Chowdhury.
Sources said there was no definite response from the government on the issue of allowing Abdullah to attend Lok Sabha.
National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi said the government is under constitutional obligation to ensure Abdullah’s participation in the Parliament session.
“Abdullah is one of the senior-most MPs. Government is under constitutional obligation to ensure his participation in the session.
“Kashmir situation is the worst…we will raise this issue,” Masoodi told reporters after the meeting.
Abdullah is representing the people people of Srinagar and they can’t be left without representation, he said.
Supporting the demand, Azad said, “How can a parliamentarian be detained illegally? He (Abdullah) should be allowed to attend Parliament.”
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was detained under the Public Safety Act in September.
Azad also demanded that Chidambaram, who is in judicial custody in the INX media money laundering case that the Enforcement Directorate is investigating, be allowed to attend the session.
TMC leader Derek O Brien, LJP leader Chirag Paswan and Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, Telugu Desam Party’s Jayadev Galla and V Vijaysai Reddy of YSR Congress were among those present at the meeting.
Paswan raised the issue of women’s reservation bill.
The meeting was called by the government and moderated by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had on Saturday appealed to all political parties for cooperation for ensuring smooth functioning of the House.
After an all-party meeting, which was also attended by Modi, the Speaker had said floor leaders of different parties mentioned various issues that they wished to be discussed during the winter session from November 18 till December 13.