National

Leaders huddle ahead of monsoon session

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 21, 2021

Yashwant Sinha   -  PTI

Sharad Pawar   -  The Hindu

Sharad Pawar, former FM Yashwant Sinha have invited some opposition leaders for talks at Pawar’s residence on Tuesday

The Opposition parties have started meeting informally ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament to discuss a range of issues spanning electoral victories in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala, the ongoing protests of farmers and workers, vaccination policy, unemployment and price rise.

Gupkar Alliance, the platform of Opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir, is separately meeting in Srinagar on Tuesday to prepare its charter of demands ahead of the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 24.

A second round of meeting between NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and poll strategist Prashant Kishor was also held on Monday. The duo is learnt to have discussed the election results and the way ahead for the Opposition parties. States such as Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are going to polls in 2022.

Informal talks

Pawar and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha have invited some Opposition leaders for informal discussions at Pawar’s official residence at Janpath here on Tuesday. “It is not a formal meeting. We will informally discuss the current political situation,” an Opposition leader said.

The Gupkar Alliance is meeting in Srinagar on Tuesday. “We will discuss the Prime Minister’s offer for meetings. We will take a decision about it collectively,” spokesman of the alliance and CPI(M) Central Committee member MY Tarigami told BusinessLine. The meeting takes place amid reports that former Chief Minister of the State Mahbooba Mufti is not keen in attending the all-party meeting convened by Modi here on June 24. Meanwhile, the Opposition targeted the Centre over the stand in Supreme Court that the distribution of ex-gratia payments to the family members of Covid 19 victims will strain the finances of the Centre.

‘Fiscal fundamentalism’

“The Central Government can very well raise the required resources if it abandons its preoccupation with maintaining the levels of fiscal deficit in a crisis of this dimension. Such fiscal fundamentalism in this catastrophe makes no sense. Crores of people have lost their means of livelihood during the last one year and are struggling to survive. They are receiving very little help even in the struggle against the pandemic with grossly inadequate health facilities, shortages of life saving medicines, etc. The informal sector that is the basis for sustenance for crores of daily wage labourers has been virtually destroyed. This Covid pandemic came on top of such ruination that began earlier with the demonetisation and GST,” CPI(M) Polit Bureau said in a statement.

Under these circumstances, ex-gratia payment to families who lost their members to the pandemic is a basic humanitarian need, it said.

Published on June 21, 2021

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