Headlines May 21, 2020
Congress chief calls for mega opposition meet
The Congress has called a video conference of all opposition parties on Friday afternoon to discuss the current situation in India. The agenda includes the BJP-led central government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the migrants issue, the suspension of labour laws, and the freeze on the activities of various parliamentary committees which function even when the Parliament is not in session.
The meeting, to be held at 3 pm on Friday. The government’s economic package and other steps regarding the coronavirus pandemic will also be talked about.
Congress Party Chief Sonia Gandhi will chair the meet. Eighteen political parties have been invited. MK Stalin’s DMK, the Left parties, and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress have already accepted. In Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee said, “I will attend. It is a good thing. We will discuss the COVID-19 situation”. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar is also expected to attend the online session.
We will follow every possible option to ensure there is a legislative oversight” and work with the opposition parties. – Randeep Surjewala, Congress spokesperson
Ever since Parliament was adjourned in March ahead of the countrywide lockdown, the government has been conducting video conferences to discuss governance issues. But no meeting of the standing committees of Parliament has been allowed. The government has said these are to be held in camera.
Several Congress leaders heading committees have written to the Presiding officers asking that these meetings be allowed virtually and be held in camera like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Speaker and President of India Ram Nath Kovind have been doing.
As the countrywide lockdown over the virus was declared in March, most opposition parties, led by the Congress, had agreed that the need of the hour was supporting the government in its efforts to control the spread of the virus.
Over the last weeks, however, accusation and counter-accusations have been gathering pace as a number of states suspended labour laws, the government delayed financial assistance to states and the migrant issue generated huge controversy.
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