The monsoon session of the Parliament, held under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, is ending earlier than planned amid a surge in infections.
But rather than the unprecedented precautions and measures taken inside the two Houses, this session might be remembered for the fierce face-off between the treasury and Opposition benches, especially over the manner of passing of two controversial agricultural reform bills.
The political clash caused by the fracas in the Rajya Sabha, the suspension of some Opposition MPs, the rejected motion against the Deputy Chairman, and the boycott of proceedings is now reaching the President of India's doorstep.
Opposition parties are approaching the President, accusing the government of trampling on Parliamentary tradition while pushing through a number of legislations.
Watch Hindustan Times senior editor Aditi Prasad decode the significance of this short, yet stormy Parliament session with deputy political editor Saubhadra Chatterji.
A group of 11 major opposition parties in Pakistan have joined hands to raise their protest against the ruling Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). A large number of people gathered in Gujranwala city of Punjab Province for a massive opposition rally on Friday. The government even blocked the roads to Gujranwala to flog the opposition rally. On September 20, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was formed by 11 opposition parties to launch a three-phased anti-government movement under an "action plan". It includes countrywide public meetings, protest demonstrations and rallies followed by a 'decisive long march' towards Islamabad in January 2021. Opposition leaders are also seeking no-confidence motions and mass resignations from Parliament for 'the selected' prime minister's resignation. Opposition parties have accused Pakistan Army of rigging the 2018 elections that brought Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party to power.
While addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, Union Ministre Hardeep Singh Puri talked about the misbehaviour of parliamentarians with the Deputy Speaker. He said that whatever happened on September 20 in the Parliament with Deputy Speaker is not parliamentary democracy or political dissent. "This is 'political hooliganism'. It is being done by taking advantage of democracy", added Puri.
On 3rd day of Monsoon session of Parliament, Congress MP Anand Sharma in Rajya Sabha sought for "scientific data" of Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan's claim that 'lockdown prevented approximately 14 lakh to 29 lakh cases and 37,000 to 78,000 deaths amid COVID-19 pandemic'. In the session, Sharma said, "Yesterday, the Health Minister said that this decision (lockdown) prevented approximately 14 to 29 lakh COVID-19 cases and 37,000-78,000 deaths. The house must be informed what is the scientific basis on which we have reached this conclusion?"
Director of Bhubaneshwar Meteorological Centre on September 07 informed that Monsoon will remain weak over Odisha for the next 4-5 days with likely thunder-storms and light to moderate rainfall. "In the next 24 hours, Kalahandi and Keonjhar likely to have these weather conditions. Bhubaneshwar will stay partly cloudy," he said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has put home on Members or Parliament to cooperate for smooth functioning of Monsoon Session which is likely to begin in September amid coronavirus pandemic. "We hope that Members of Parliament will cooperate in the smooth functioning of the Monsoon session by following the COVID guidelines," said Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on August 28. "COVID-19 has posed a major challenge for the functioning of democratic institutions across the world. We hope that the members will cooperate in the smooth functioning of the (Monsoon) session by following COVID-19 related guidelines," he added.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar slammed the opposition over their way of opposing the new farm Bills in Parliament and outside the houses. "Opposition politics become directionless because when they have chance to show their opinion, they walked out, started protesting outside and met the president," said Javadekar. "Parliament is a place where anyone can represent their opinion and we don't stop anyone for this. The behaviour of opposition in Parliament during passing of the bill was very shameful," Javadekar added. "They wanted division, the deputy chairman said that I will give division but firstly go to your seat, but they didn't follow his order. The issue on Minimum Support Price (MSP) was solved for which they were protesting," Javadekar said.
Opposition parties tried to corner the government over farm bills by meeting the President of India. Opposition leaders urged President Ram Nath Kovind to not give assent to controversial bills. The meeting took place days after massive fracas in Rajya Sabha for which 8 MPs were suspended. The opposition blamed the government for commotion, while seeking fresh debate in parliament on the bills. Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “"I apprised him of the way these two bills were passed unconstitutionally and also urged him to return these bills, so that amendments can be made.” He added, “Before passing these bills, the government should have taken all political parties into confidence. They should have discussed with farmer organisations and their leaders so that a proper consensus could have reached.” Watch the full video for more.
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Sir Keir Starmer has said the worst thing Boris Johnson can do would be to“not act quickly and decisively enough”. He added: “Finally I want to say thisto the Prime Minister. I know that there will be some on his side who willoppose further restrictions, there will be those who look at the data and tellhim to disregard it or say the cost of acting now is too high. “I want to beclear – the worst thing the Prime Minister can do is not act quickly anddecisively enough, or to keep coming back to this House every couple of weekswith a new plan that doesn’t work and isn’t up to the scale of the task. “Weneed to break that cycle, finally get on top of the virus, rebuild publicconfidence. I hope the measures announced today will do so, but the House andthe country will be deeply sceptical whether they can.”
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Rajya Sabha MP V. Muraleedharan said that the House cannot function in the presence of non-members. "The suspended members have no right to be in the House. The House cannot function with the presence of non-members," said Muraleedharan. Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman Harivansh urged suspended MPs to not take part in the House proceedings. "I urge the members named by the Rajya Sabha Chairman to not take part in the House proceedings," said Harivansh.
Harivansh Singh had been chosen as the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha on September 14. BJP Rajya Sabha MP JP Nadda moved the motion to elect NDA candidate Harivansh as the Deputy Chairman of the House. MP Thaawarchand Gehlot seconded the motion. A voice vote was conducted for the election of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman. House's Chairman Venkaiah Naidu declared him as the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha. "The respect I hold for Harivansh ji, each member of the House shares. He has earned this respect. His unbiased role in the Parliament strengthens our democracy," "After becoming an MP, Harivanshi ji has always ensured how all MPs can become more dutiful. The journalist inside him has stayed alive," said PM Modi. "This is the second time he has been elected as the deputy chairman of the House. I congratulate him. He has been just to members of all parties," said Congress Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Azad.
JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar said he has no interest in what someone is saying about him. In a jibe at LJP, Kumar said "Ram Vilas Paswan is unwell. We want him to recover. Has Ram Vilas Paswan been elected to Rajya Sabha without the support of JDU? BJP and JDU gave him the ticket." The ruling NDA in Bihar on Tuesday announced its seat-sharing formula for the assembly elections under which JD(U) will contest on 122 seats and BJP 121 out of a total of 243 seats. BJP backed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's leadership to the hilt and rebuffed LJP chief Chirag Paswan who has raised a banner of revolt. At a joint press conference of the top leadership of the JD (U) and the BJP, where Kumar who heads the former was also present, it was declared that the two partners have clinched a deal where both will have an almost equal share of the pie.
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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, ahead of state assembly elections announced the seat-sharing of NDA in a press conference on October 06. During the press conference, when questioned about LJP, Nitish Kumar said that BJP-JD(U) gave Ram Vilas Paswan the ticket to Rajya Sabha as LJP had only two seats. Kumar said, "Ram Vilas Paswan is unwell. We want him to recover. Did he reach Rajya Sabha without JDU's help? How many seats do they have in Bihar Vidhan Sabha? Two. So, BJP-JD(U) gave him ticket to RS. What do we have to do with what someone says?"
AAP MP Sanjay Singh faced an ink attack when he was speaking to the media after meeting Hathras victim’s family members. The attacker could be heard raising ‘PFI agents go back’ slogans after he threw ink on the AAP Rajya Sabha MP. Sanjay Singh left the area and the attacker was taken to the local police station. Sanjay Singh’s visit to Hathras comes after Rahul & Priyanka Gandhi visited the grieving family on Saturday and Bhim Army Chief Chadra Shekhar Azad met them on Sunday. The opposition parties have been attacking the Yogi Adityanath government over the Hathras horror. Several opposition parties have also demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister over the case. A dalit girl had allegedly been gangraped on September 14 and passed away in a Delhi hospital on 29th of September. Her body was also hurriedly cremated at night despite protests by her parents and family members. Watch the full video for all the details.
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Cafes, pubs and restaurants across the country have stepped up to offer free school meals for local children during half term, after MPs rejected a campaign started by footballer Marcus Rashford. The Manchester United player says he's "blown away" by the growing grassroots effort across England to feed poor students during the upcoming school break Report by Fullerg. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/itn and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/itn
A motion to extend the free school meal voucher scheme until Easter 2021 has been rejected by MPs. Tabled by Labour, Conservative MPs voted against the scheme 322 votes to 261. This comes after England footballer Marcus Rashford, who received free school meals whilst growing up, petitioned the government to extend the scheme to cover upcoming school holidays. Report by Thomasl. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/itn and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/itn
Chancelllor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that businesses in Tier 2areas will receive further financial support. He told MPs: “First, I amintroducing a new grant scheme for businesses impacted by Tier 2 restrictions,even if they aren’t legally closed.
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England football star Marcus Rashford’s bid to extend free school meals overthe holidays was dealt a blow after MPs voted against the measure. Labour’smotion, which called for the scheme to be extended over school holidays untilEaster 2021, was defeated by 261 votes to 322 – a majority of 61.
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Over 5 crore people in the United States of America have already voted ahead of physical voting day on November 3. However, pollsters believe that there are still some people undecided ahead of the elections. The second and final Presidential debate was seen as incumbent Donald Trump's outreach to some of these people in order to strengthen his support base. Experts believe that he missed out on flaunting his economic track record which was only recently marred by the Covid-19 pandemic. The latter is believed to be his weakest point, and also the biggest target of criticism by challenger Joe Biden. So who won Debate 2? Former Indian ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar and Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times Pramit Palchaudhuri discuss the question with Hindustan Times' Aditi Prasad.
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The second and final debate between US Presidential election candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden saw better articulation of their views and policy visions, but one area which didn't see much discussion was foreign policy. India was mentioned just once by Trump, when he called the country's air 'filthy' while commenting on climate change commitments. So which would be better for India - a continuation of the Trump administration in the White House, or the victory of challenger Biden? One big factor in the equation would be the next US government's attitude towards China. While Trump has been increasingly confrontational with Beijing, experts feel that Biden may adopt a less aggressive strategy. Former Indian ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar and Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times Pramit Palchaudhuri discuss the question with Hindustan Times' Aditi Prasad.
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The Bihar Assembly election is approaching and the main battle is between the NDA and the Mahagathbandhan. While BJP & the JDU are fighting the Bihar polls together, there is a lot of speculation about Chirag Paswan’s LJP deciding to go solo. What has also aroused the curiosity of political pundits is that the LJP chief has decided to only field candidates against Nitish Kumar’s JDU and has referred to himself as ‘PM Modi’s Hanuman’. While BJP has been trying to distance itself from Chirag Paswan calling the party a ‘vote-katuwa’, many believe that the BJP is keeping options open for the post-poll scenario. So is there more than what meets the eye as far as alliances go in Bihar? Watch this edition of In Focus where Hindustan Times’ senior editor Aditi Prasad speaks to BJP leader Guru Prakash Paswan for all the details.
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