- There will be no winter session of Parliament due to the coronavirus pandemic, government has said.
- Parliamentary Affair Minister Prahlad Joshi said the government is willing to have Budget Session at the “earliest”
- The decision was taken after meetings with the leaders from several parties
On Monday, days after Lok Sabha Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sent a letter to Speaker Om Birla urging him to convene a short winter session of Parliament to address issues such as the agitation of farmers, the government told him that floor leaders of different parties, whom it had consulted, were in favor of ending the session because of the pandemic situation.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi mentioned in a letter to Chowdhury that the government is willing to have the next parliamentary session at the earliest and that it would be appropriate to have the budget session in January.
On January 31 of last year and on January 28 of 2018, the Budget session began.
Chowdhury admitted receiving the letter but said he never indicated that there should be no holding of the winter session. He told, ” Rather, I suggested that there should be a session.”
The leader of Congress said that the government is running away from Parliament to evade questions about issues such as the protests of farmers.
In the letter to Chowdhury, Joshi wrote: “You are aware that the Monsoon Session was slightly postponed and was held in September 2020, following all precautionary procedures, due to the extraordinary situation emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, the session proved to be one of Parliament’s most fruitful sessions, with 27 bills passed in 10 consecutive sessions by both houses.”
He wrote that the winter months, especially in Delhi, are “crucial for managing the pandemic because of the recent spurt in cases during this period.”
He further said, “We are currently in the middle of December, and a Covid vaccine is expected very soon. In this regard, I have informally approached floor leaders of different political parties and shared their fears about the ongoing pandemic and their views on the withdrawal of the Winter Session.”
Prahlad Joshi wrote in response of December 3 letter, “The government is willing to have the next session of Parliament at the earliest; it would be appropriate to have the Budget session 2021 in January 2021 keeping in mind the unprecedented circumstances created by Covid-19 pandemic.”
Chowdhury said when contacted: ” I never mentioned that the session should not take place. In some states, assembly sessions are being held. Why should the exemption be enjoyed by Parliament when Assembly sessions are held in the same country? The government is reluctant because it does not want to respond to anything in Parliament. It is actually a fig leaf to hide this government’s failures.” He said that on many topics, including the agitation of farmers, the government is “dithering,” and thus “they don’t want to convene Parliament’s winter session.”