The political pressure against the recent reform steps of the UPA Government will be the key agenda of this Winter session.

The upcoming Winter Session of Parliament could be the toughest one for the UPA-II. Though the Congress has appointed its best possible bet, Kamal Nath, to reach out to its allies and the Opposition, it would still be tough going for the Government.

The nervousness in the ruling camp is visible from the way the Prime Minister himself has joined his team to pacify the allies. On the initiative of Kamal Nath, he held discussions with the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party and ensured support of all UPA allies. A dinner with the BJP leaders is also scheduled.

But it will not be easy for the Congress to counter its “ideological” opponents. Their former ally, Trinamool Congress, has said that it will move a no-confidence motion against the Government on the first day of the sitting.

For the first time in her political career, Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee has appealed to her “Leftist friends”, seeking their support for the no-confidence motion.

“This Government which is mired in corruption of thousands of crores of rupees and sold out the country and has taken anti-people decisions one after another arbitrarily like FDI in multi-brand retail, FDI in pension and imposed a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders, must go,” she said.

The offer looks irresistible for an Opposition party. However, the Left, so far, has not shown any particular interest in the motion, nor have the National Democratic Alliance and other regional parties.

Banerjee’s intentions seem clear. She is trying make the most of the ideological opposition to the pro-reform steps of the UPA Government, even from its own allies.

The Left parties, which have been criticising such policies, will have to take a call on whether it wants to topple the Government or help it survive till 2014.

The political pressure against the recent reform steps of the UPA Government will be the key agenda of this Winter session.

The BJP says its primary focus will be on issues such as the cap on LPG subsidies, rise in diesel, petrol, fertiliser and food prices. Corruption allegations against the first family of the Congress will get third or fourth priority in the House, the BJP claims.

This political situation is sure to affect the process of policy formation. About 80 Bills, minor and major, are pending in Parliament. These include Bills to reform the banking and pension sectors, Companies Bill, National Identification Authority Bill, Food Security Bill, Land Acquisition Bill, The Mines and Minerals Bill, and Electronic Delivery of Services Bill.

The Government may have to force the passage of these Bills. The session, thus, is going to be the real test for the Congress minus Pranab Mukherjee. It remains to be seen how the Congress fares in the absence of its most experienced trouble-shooter in the Winter session.

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 18, 2012)
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