The Centre’s letter to Sonia Gandhi, claiming it was not traditional to inform the Opposition about the agenda of a special session or discuss it, was roundly criticised by Congress’s Jairam Ramesh, who almost gave a power-point presentation on the number of times this has happened.
In a nine-point post on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Ramesh gave instances of special sessions and meetings in both houses where the agenda was known or discussed.
The post was a response of one from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, in which he had accused Sonia Gandhi and the Congress of attempting to create an issue “out of nothing”.
“Yet another desperate attempt by Sonia Gandhi and the Congress Party to create an issue out of nothing. The government has convened the session as per the provisions of the constitution and the due procedure has been followed,” his post read.
Mr Ramesh — who is also the party’s communications in-charge — claimed the minister was “misleading” people.
“It is only the Modi government that is continuously disrespecting the Parliament and subverting parliamentary traditions. Previous governments — including yours — have called many special meetings for Constitution Day, Quit India Movement and other such occasions… The agenda for each particular session/meeting was known in advance,” he posted.
कितना गुमराह करेंगे जोशी-जी?
प्रत्येक विशेष सत्र/बैठक का एजेंडा पहले से ही पता होता था।
यह सिर्फ़ मोदी सरकार ही है जो लगातार संसद का अपमान कर रही है और संसदीय परंपराओं को विकृत कर रही है।
पिछली सरकारों ने — इसमें आपकी सरकार भी शामिल हैं — संविधान दिवस, भारत छोड़ो आंदोलन और ऐसे… https://t.co/BTlNBb5kpm
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 6, 2023
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged ministers to steer clear of the Bharat-India debate, which started after it became known that in President Droupadi Murmu’s invite to G20 leaders, she has been described as “President of Bharat”. The next day, a document surfaced that saw PM Modi being described as the “Prime Minister of Bharat”.
It capped two days of political sparring between the Congress and BJP over speculation that the country would be renamed at the special session of parliament due from September 18. The fact that the government has not announced any agenda for the special session has added to the speculation.
The Opposition bloc India accused the BJP-led government of “distorting history and dividing India”. The Congress said the government was “keeping people in the dark”.
After back-to-back meetings of the Congress and the INDIA bloc yesterday, Sonia Gandhi wrote a nine-point letter to PM Modi today, suggesting a number of subjects parliament can discuss on its special session since no agenda was announced.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had written back that Mrs Gandhi is perhaps “not aware of traditions,” and asserted that the government discusses the agenda with the Opposition only after the session begins.