Parliamentary floor leaders of 17 parties met at Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence for a dinner meeting to discuss the strategy for the Winter Session of Parliament. There were no representatives from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Bal Thackeray). It was decided at the meeting that the next summit of the INDIA parties will be held soon in the third week of December after consulting with the other party chiefs.
The Congress last week had called for a meeting of heads of INDIA bloc parties on December 6. The meeting, however, could not take place as at least three senior leaders — TMC’s Mamata Banerjee, DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar — expressed their inability to attend the meet. Instead, it was decided that a meeting of Parliamentary leaders would be held.
In a post on X, Mr. Kharge said that the like-minded parties who attended the meeting have agreed to take up the issues of the people in Parliament, in the remaining part of this session, to “make the government accountable.” “A date for the meeting of INDIA parties will soon be fixed in consultation with the leaders of all parties,” he announced.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Congress Working Committee member and Rajya Sabha MP Syed Naseer Hussain said that the upcoming Bills were discussed. Speaking about the absence of Trinamool and Shiv Sena (UBT) representatives, Mr. Hussain said that the parties had informed them earlier that they will not be able to make it.
According to sources, AAP MP Raghav Chadha expressed disappointment that it has been more than three months since the last INDIA summit that was held in Mumbai from August 31 to September 1.
No word on recent results
The gathering did not deliberate on the recent Assembly elections where the Congress lostto the BJP in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh or the differences that arose between the allies during the polls. “There was no word spoken on what our strategy will be in 2024 general election. The seat-sharing arrangement was not broached at all,” one of the participants told The Hindu.
Instead, the floor leaders, concentrated on concretising their strategy for the Winter Session of Parliament that has been discussed in detail in a similar meeting held in Mr. Kharge’s office in Parliament on Monday. Sources said that the parties have resolved to strongly protest against the three legislations aimed at overhauling the existing criminal justice system for which 15 hours each has been allocated for debate in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
The parties have also agreed to oppose The Chief Election Commissioner And Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions Of Service And Term Of Office) Bill, 2023, that seeks to replace the Chief Justice of India with a Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister in the selection committee for choosing the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, thereby, virtually giving the dispensation the power to overrule the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and hand-pick candidates for these posts.