Intolerance issue to hit winter session of Indian Parliament

New Delhi,Amita Shah,Iftikhar Gilani: The Winter session of Parliament appears all set to begin on cold notes, with signs of government-opposition confrontation likely to surface in the first two days of special session on the Constitution and its architect BR Ambedkar. With the Opposition expected to raise the intolerance issue during the debate, government floor managers are preparing the BJP’s counter offensive.


While the Opposition, united and emboldened after the Bihar election, is planning to corner the government on issues like Dadri and return of awards, the treasury side’s line of retaliation is likely to revolve around the theme that there was a “fabricated” campaign to defame the government. The ruling side was expected to argue that secularism had been misused and highlight how the Modi government had “strengthened” constitutional commitments, sources said.

A major face off between government and opposition is likely to be witnessed in Rajya Sabha when CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s notice seeking a House resolution against intolerance comes up the following week. The notice, saying the “House strongly condemns the atmosphere of growing intolerance manifesting in violence and spread of communal polarisation in the country”, entails voting. If the government does not agree on a unanimous draft, the Opposition strategy will be to insist on voting, a demand which the ruling side is also unlikely to accept.

“I have given a notice to move a special resolution. We want the House to condemn the growing intolerance,” Yechury told dna.

The issue could polarise the House with the entire Opposition uniting against the government, which is in a minority in the Upper House.

“We are ready for a debate on any issue. We want Parliament session to run smoothly and are hopeful that the Congress will play a constructive role,” said minister of state for Parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

While the government’s floor managers are identifying its team of speakers for the debate on Ambedkar, the Opposition is also gearing up to use the discussion to raise the intolerance issue.

In Lok Sabha, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to intervene during the debate, party sources said. However, the party is scrambling for speakers to participate in the two-day debate on November 26 and 27. The government has planned a meeting with opposition parties on November 25, a day after the BJP parliamentary party and NDA hold their strategy sessions.

A heavy legislative agenda of 35 bills is on the government’s agenda for the 28-day session. Of these, 14 legislations, including GST, real estate, prevention of corruption and negotiable instruments, are pending in Rajya Sabha. While five are pending in Lok Sabha, the government has listed 16 new bills.