A five-day special session of Parliament began at 11 am on Monday with an address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. From Tuesday, the session will be held in the new Parliament building, reported PTI.
The prime minister said that leaving the old Parliament building is an “emotional moment”. “It is time to remember inspirational moments associated with this Parliament building before we move to new premises,” he said.
He recalled that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru delivered the “stroke of midnight” speech in the old Parliament building, which laid the foundation for India as an independent country. “From Nehru to Manmohanji, they all played a crucial role and contributed towards Parliament,” he said.
Modi also lauded the success of the G20 Summit and said that it belongs to the citizens of the country, not to one person or a party, reported The Indian Express. “It is a matter for all of us to celebrate,” he added.
The Centre plans to introduce eight bills in the session but there has been speculation that the Centre could take up matters that are not mentioned in the agenda for the five-day sitting. On Monday, a discussion will be held on Parliament’s 75-year journey.
One of the bills mentioned in the legislative business aimed to constitute a selection committee for the appointment of the election commissioners. However, news reports on Monday said that the bill had been taken off the agenda.
Opposition parties had objected to the bill that proposed setting up a panel consisting of the prime minister, the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union cabinet minister nominated by the prime minister.
This would have done away with the arrangement put in place by the Supreme Court in March to form a selection committee consisting of the prime minister, the leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the chief justice of India. The committee had been formed on a temporary basis till Parliament came up with a law on the matter.
Meanwhile, at all-party meeting held on Sunday, floor leaders were told that that a bill on the welfare of senior citizens and three related to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have been added to the agenda.
Opposition parties, including the Biju Janata Dal and Bharat Rashtra Samithi, have pushed the government to take up a bill to ensure quota for women in legislatures such as the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. The Congress had passed a resolution on the issue during its Hyderabad Congress Working Committee meeting on Sunday.
However, the government did not clarify if the bill will be taken up. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the government will take “an appropriate decision at an appropriate time”, reported PTI.
“On the first day, the session will be held in the old Parliament House,” Joshi added, reported The Indian Express. “The next day, i.e. on September 19, there will be a photo session in the old Parliament House, then there will be a function in Central Hall at 11 am.”