Several opposition parties Saturday skipped a customary meeting of floor leaders, convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on the eve of the Monsoon Session of Parliament starting Monday.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC), TRS, Shiv Sena, NCP, BSP, Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam, Shiromani Akali Dal and Left parties skipped the meeting. The BJD had no representation.
From the Opposition, Congress, DMK and Muslim League attended the meeting. Birla said he has urged all parties to “cooperate in smooth conduct of the proceedings with decency, dignity and discipline in accordance with the high traditions and values of the House”.
Opposition sources denied a coordinated boycott. TMC leader Derek O’Brien tweeted that “pre-session all party meetings (are) now a sham”, as the Centre never allows discussion on people-centric issues in Parliament.
The TMC will also skip Sunday’s meeting of Rajya Sabha floor leaders, called by the Chairman of the Upper House, but will attend the all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that during the meeting, he said that discussions should be allowed on the Agnipath recruitment scheme, rising unemployment, fuel price-rise, increasing incidents of communal disharmony, etc. “There are no dearth of issues, but the government should give the Opposition time to discuss these,” he said. DMK’s T R Baalu, too, demanded discussion on these issues.
Birla said leaders of all parties have assured him that they will cooperate in conducting proceedings of the House with dignity.
At the meeting, which had NDA constituents such as LJP and Apna Dal, the government side was represented by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Minister of State Arjun Ram Meghwal.
The YSRCP also attended the meeting.