Boycott session or take fight to the Govt? Opposition will take a call today

With the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs deepening the political divide and threatening a washout of the entire winter session, backchannel talks were held between the government and the Opposition Monday to find an amicable resolution, but there was no immediate headway.

Minutes after the suspension of the MPs, Opposition floor leaders met in the chamber of Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha.

The RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha, it is learnt, said Kharge should speak to Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on behalf of the entire Opposition and demand revocation of the suspension. He suggested that if the government is not amenable, then the Opposition should think about boycotting the entire session. Leaders of the Left parties are learnt to have supported him.

The Congress, sources said, did not reveal its mind immediately. Some Congress leaders said boycotting the session would be an extreme response.

“The government then will have a free run. We cannot vacate the space. We have to negotiate and arrive at a tactical truce,” a Congress leader said.

Sources said one proposal is for members to meet the Chairman in his chamber and express regret so that suspension can be revoked. But this has been strongly opposed by some of the suspended members.

The Trinamool Congress neither attended the morning meeting of Opposition leaders convened by Kharge nor the one after the suspension of the 12 MPs though two among them are from the party.

ENS adds: Earlier in the day, Venkaiah Naidu referred to the incident of the last session. In his opening address, he said “bitter and unpleasant experiences” of the monsoon session “still continue to haunt most of us”.

“The treasury benches wanted a detailed inquiry into the conduct of some members during the final two days of the last turbulent session,” he said, adding that he had tried to reach out to leaders of various parties.

“Some of them made it clear that their members would not be a party to any such inquiry. Some leaders, however, expressed concern over the way the functioning of the House was derailed during the last session and condemned the unruly incidents,” Naidu said.

“On my part, I was expecting and waiting for the leading lights of this august House to take the lead in expressing their outrage over what had happened during the last session with assurances of introspection and spirited efforts to prevent recurrence of such incidents. Such assurances by all concerned would have helped me in appropriately handling the matter. But unfortunately, it was not to be,” he said, referring to unruly scenes in the House on August 11 during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill.

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