The Congress has urged President Ram Nath Kovind to direct the government to hold the Winter Session of Parliament at the earliest. It has accused the Centre of delaying the session “without ascribing any justification for doing so”.

In a letter dated November 21, the Congress Parliamentary Party said delaying the Winter Session will set an “unhealthy precedent”, and that the government has only “informally mentioned” that it was being pushed to avoid clashing with the Assembly elections in Gujarat.

The Winter Session is usually held from mid-November till the third week of December.

“In the past, too, many state Assembly elections were held when Parliament was in session, but no session was deferred on these grounds,” the letter read.

The Congress pointed out that in 2012, the Assembly elections were held in Gujarat on December 13 and 17 while the Parliament session that year was duly convened from November 22 to December 20.

“It is clear that the government is avoiding facing Parliament and answering questions on its flawed and unpopular policies and decisions and rampant corruption,” the Congress’ letter to Kovind read. “It also undermines the institution of Parliament itself and calls for the honourable president’s urgent intervention as the custodian of the Constitution.”

The letter was signed by Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha; Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha; Anand Sharma, deputy leader in Rajya Sabha for the Congress; Congress Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia; and Whip Deependra Hooda.

On Tuesday, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar had said that the Parliamentary Affairs Panel will meet “in the next couple of days” to decide the dates for the Winter Session.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday had said that the government would ensure a “normal Winter Session” of Parliament, but it does not want the dates to overlap with the elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat next month.