The Narendra Modi Government’s staunch defence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, each facing accusations of wrongdoing, is likely to see the Opposition disrupt proceedings during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
“Our ministers do not have to resign. This is not their (UPA) government; this is the NDA government,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh told newspersons on Wednesday when asked about the main Opposition Congress party’s repeated demand for their resignations. While Swaraj and Raje have been facing public scrutiny for allegedly helping fugitive former IPL chief Lalit Modi, Irani has landed in a controversy over the genuineness of her educational qualifications.
The firm ‘no’ came on a day the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) suggested that the monsoon session of Parliament be convened between July 21 and August 23. This means that the Government will continue to face relentless attacks from the Opposition, which, in turn, will affect the prospects of key legislation, such as the Land Bill and the Goods and Services Tax Bill, in the forthcoming session. The Opposition has already warned the Government that it should take steps to “save” Parliament.
While the Home Minister was dismissive of the demand for resignations, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reasoned that the NDA ministers “do not do” the things ministers in the UPA government had done. This was a reference to the scandals during the UPA era, involving various Union ministers.Many Bills hanging
Currently, the Land Bill is with a joint House panel and its report is expected by the first day of the monsoon session. Similarly, the Constitution Amendment Bill for GST is with the select panel, which is expected to give its report before the session. The Land Bill is already facing tough resistance from many political parties.
Other pending Bills include amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, the Railways (Amendment) Bill, the Waterways Bill, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, and the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015.
The Government will also need to enact a new law to replace the Negotiable Instrument Ordinance, during the forthcoming session.