Kharge, Rahul Skip Flag Hoisting At New Parliament, Adhir Attends: ‘Am I Not Enough?’

The session is likely to be shifted to the new Parliament building — inaugurated by PM Modi on May 28 — on September 19 on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ahead of the Parliament special session on Monday and the all-party meeting scheduled for today, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar hoisted the national flag at the Gaja Dwar of the New Parliament building.

In attendance at the ceremony were, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

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Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi reacted to parties saying that they received the invitation for the flag hoisting ceremony ‘quite late’ and to Mallikarjun Kharge skipping the ceremony. Joshi said that the invitation was sent out early, adding that, “how come Adhir Ranjan has come but not Mallikarjun, Congress always wants to play politics”. He added that the same logic was also given by some other opposition parties, like TMC.

Reacting to this, senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “Am I not enough? If I am not useful here, tell me I will leave…Concentrate on those who are present here… I am here, does it not suffice the media people…”

The government will hold an all-party meeting on Sunday to brief them and hear their opinions. The meeting will place amid the buzz over whether the centre will present a surprise element during the session.

The unusual timing of the session, which begins on Monday, has left everyone wondering, even though the main standout feature on the listed agenda is a special discussion on Parliament’s journey of 75 years starting from the “Samvidhan Sabha” (Constituent Assembly).

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The government on Wednesday declared the agenda for the upcoming special session of Parliament and at the top of the list is a discussion on Parliament’s history.

“Members are informed that on 18 September, 2023, besides other formal business like laying of papers, etc., a Discussion will be held on the subject ‘Parliamentary Journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha – Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings’,” a Parliament bulletin read.

As per sources, the special session will begin in the old Parliament building and will then move to the new Parliament building on September 19 on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Other than discussing the history of the Parliament, the government has also listed five bills for passage during the five-day session.

1. The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023. This bill was introduced in the previous monsoon session of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, despite severe opposition from the other side. The bill proposes that a three-member committee led by the Prime Minister will be responsible for appointing future chief election commissioners and election commissioners.

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2. The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 3, laid on the table of the Lok Sabha on August 4. It proposes regulation of the legal profession by only Advocates Act, 1961 and repeals the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, while retaining a provision dealing with touts in courts.

3. The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, was also passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 3 and laid on the table of Lok Sabha on August 4. The government says it will lead to ease of doing business for media and publishing companies, simplify the process of registration, and decriminalise several colonial-era penal provisions.

4. The Post Office Bill, 2023, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on August 10. The bill is in consideration and after being cleared by the Rajya Sabha it will be laid on the Lok Sabha table. It repeals the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, and provides for matters related to the functioning of the Post Office, an undertaking of the central government.

5. The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023 has been listed by the Rajya Sabha. This bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and it seeks to repeal 65 laws that are obsolete or that have been made redundant by other laws. It also corrects a minor drafting error in the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.

There have also been some talks about a bill to ensure quota for women in elected legislatures like Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

However, what has added to the curiosity about the session is the strong likelihood of the session being shifted to the new Parliament building. Various departments of parliamentary staff are all set to don new uniforms in a signal from the government that the shift to the new building is likely to be marked with a fresh start in more than one way.

The new dress code with floral motif for a section of staff has already kicked up a political row, with the Congress dubbing it as a “cheap” tactic to promote the ruling party’s poll symbol – the lotus flower.

While announcing the session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had described it as “special session”. But the government had later made it clear that it was a regular session, 13th session of the present Lok Sabha and 261st session of Rajya Sabha.

During the upcoming five-day special session, there will be no Question Hour or Zero Hour.

(With inputs from PTI)

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