Opposition parties on Thursday severely criticised the central government for its decision to not hold the Winter Session of Parliament due to the coronavirus pandemic, reported PTI.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said the Centre had a “big brother” attitude by remaining indifferent to the other parties on such matters. The party’s MP TR Baalu said that while matters like the ongoing farmers’ protest and border tension with China had to be discussed in Parliament, it was very concerning that the central BJP leadership did not want to hold the session. Baalu claimed that the government did not consult the Opposition, including the DMK, which was unacceptable.

“...on behalf of DMK, I strongly condemn the cancelling of the Winter Session of the Parliament by the BJP government citing [the] corona[virus] pandemic,” Baalu said in a statement. He pointed out that even the Supreme Court had taken the farmers’ protests seriously.

“When the Supreme Court itself is coming forward to seek a solution amid an abnormal situation, it is condemnable that the elected government has cancelled the session,” Baalu said, according to PTI.

Shiv Sena also severely criticised the Narendra Modi-led administration. “What kind of democratic practice is this?” the party asked in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna. “The country will remain alive only if voices from the opposition are strong. The democratic traditions in Parliament inspire the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must follow these traditions.”

The party added that the elections in the United States changed the leadership in a democratic way. “The US held polls and changed the guard in a democratic manner,” the editorial said. “This is the democracy of the super power; [while] we locked the supreme temple of democracy.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had on Tuesday said he got in touch with floor leaders of several political parties and they had raised concern about the pandemic. Joshi added that these politicians had suggested “doing away with the Winter Session”.

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Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, meanwhile, held that the Modi government was trying to avoid a confrontation with the Opposition. “The BJP government is avoiding facing the farmers and the Opposition by avoiding the winter session of the Lok Sabha by using Covid-19 as an excuse,” he said in a statement.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister demanded that the Lok Sabha and state Assembly session be convened immediately to discuss the farm laws, along with other pressing issues like privatisation, unemployment, price rise, women’s development, and the law and order situation in his state.

Yadav added that his party will give full support to the farmers who are being allegedly harassed by the Uttar Pradesh government. “The farm laws will ruin agriculture and a handful of people will control farmers,” he said.

The Nationalist Congress Party also demanded that Modi convene a special Parliament session to address the concerns of the farmers.

“We are observing since the last 22 days that thousands of farmers are in the vicinity of Delhi and opposing the farm laws which were hurriedly passed [in Parliament] by the Modi government,” party spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said. “The NCP demands that the prime minister convene a special session of Parliament, where the farmers concerns and apprehensions are addressed.”

Tapase added that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre “does not seem to be sympathising with the protestors”, even when some farmers “had laid down their lives for the cause”.