The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha began Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other MPs being sworn in. The Rajya Sabha will have 27 and the Lok Sabha see 30 sittings over the next 40 days. The Modi government plans to replace 10 ordinances with legislations during the session which will go on until July 26.
Key legislations include the Triple Talaq Bill, Aadhar Amendment Bill, Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill and a bill to reduce 44 labour laws into 4 codes.
The Congress and the rest of the opposition parties are yet to get their act together. While the Congress is yet to hold a strategy meeting for its MPs, the opposition could raise the issue of unemployment, farmer's distress, drought, press freedom and early conclusion of Jammu and Kashmir elections. To discuss the issues that confront the 17th Lok Sabha CNBC-TV18 spoke to Rakesh Sinha MP-Rajya Sabha from BJP, Saugata Roy MP-Lok Sabha from TMC, Majeed Memon MP-Rajya Sabha from NCP and senior journalist Rasheed Kidwai.
Sinha said: "Dialogue is core of democracy. If you avoid dialogue and you go for disruption then democracy cannot function. Opposition parties may have grievances, opposition parties might have certain issues like unemployment, you can discuss and debate on unemployment but there are other issues and important bills which need to be passed as well, they concern not one ideology or one party but they concern the well-being of the entire nation. They are not sectarian bills, they are bills which concern to the common people.
"Triple Talaq Bill is a very important bill. It has not originated from any party's manifesto, this is originated by the Muslim women after 2014. It reached the court and the court has given a verdict and that verdict is against triple talaq and now that is getting the constitutional status. So, if you are opposing Triple Talaq Bill for various trivial reasons, that is not going to serve the purpose for the Muslim women.
"Similarly the Aadhar issue, the Motor Vehicles Act, these are all important issues. So my submission to the opposition parties is that, they have the right to raise the issues but if they are taking disruption as a normal behaviour then that is kind of obstructing the functioning of the parliamentary democracy."
Roy said: "Congress is so far the largest party in the opposition though it has not got the requisite numbers for a recognised opposition party. What Congress will do with their party, who will be their leader, what will be their strategy, it is for them to determine. There are other important opposition parties like the DMK, we do not know whether the BJD will join the opposition and there are many other parties and groups in the parliament which are opposed.
"On issues which are common to us, be it farmer distress, unemployment, we are prepared to work with all other opposition parties, we have no problem with that but they will have to take care of their parties. We, with our 22 MPs in Lok Sabha, will raise the concerns of the people, of the state of West Bengal and that of the whole country."
Memon said: "As far as the concept of Triple Talaq Bill when it was conceived, when it was brought in the house including in Rajya Sabha, it was containing a few objectionable provisions which could not have been accepted by any independent, fair minded people. I myself had said it on the floor of the house that law minister Ravishankar may kindly consider that this bill needs be sent to select committee so that some experts would ponder over certain provisions which need to be drastically altered or drastically changed but I do not know what was the purpose of BJP obstructing it to be sent to select committee, they said it will take time.
"We said that in one week's time select committee can have top priority and come back to the house when the house was in session during the 16th Lok Sabha's tenure but that one week was not acceptable to them and they wasted more than 6 months. Now they are coming out with certain cosmetic changes here are there."
Kidwai said: "I think government will find it difficult to pass the bills through Rajya Sabha unless the BJP and NDA get clear majority in the Rajya Sabha perhaps later next year or in two years from now. The problem is that in our country's politics dominates over everything, there are political positions that have been arrived at and the kind of bills that are pending in parliament are of two, three types.
"Bills which are of economic reforms like labour reforms, there are bills like Motor Vehicles Act where I do not see much problem within the ruling party and the opposition. Then there are bills which are laced with lot of politics like Triple Talaq Bill etc. So unless the government of the day kind of holds negotiations with opposition parties and look at some of their concerns, then perhaps there could be a way forward otherwise the opposition is extremely bitter, they have lost, they will try to block everything in the Lok Sabha, they will try to use their lung power and in the Rajya Sabha they have the numbers, so they will come together to block everything that government proposes to do."