Kamal Nath rules out early polls, says Monsoon session could be extended

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New Delhi: The government dismissed suggestions that the Monsoon session will be the last session and that the country was headed for early elections.
"There are still three sessions left, including the Monsoon session, the Winter session and Budget session for the vote-on-account," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said. 
Nath also said the Monsoon session which concludes on August 30 could be extended, if necessary. Talking to reporters after an all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar, Nath said that the government has received "emphatic assurances" from all political parties about the session being business-like and smooth. He said there was "wide consensus" on the Food Security Bill.
"Obviously, political parties have some point to make but there is a very large consensus," he said, indicating that there would not be any problem in its passage. He denied suggestions that some bills are being brought in haste and that it means elections were round the corner.
Nath's comments came close on the heels of SP leader Shailender Kumar expressing apprehensions that the session would not run smoothly and would be a stormy affair because of the issues the government is bringing.
"It seems it is an electionsession due to the kind of bills the government is bringing. It appears that the government is looking at its benefit by bringing all these measures," Kumar said, naming the Food Security Bill and the decision on separate Telangana. He also gave indications that the SP will not give support to the Food Security bill, saying the interest of farmers and the authority of state should not be compromised with.
Kumar said, "First of all, we will talk about the rights of the farmers and see that their interests are not ignored. The authority of the state is not being violated. Our leadership has maintained that the bill should not be passed without a thorough discussion."
He said the session is very short and this concern was also shared by CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta. The contention of the opposition is that the Monsoon session will have only 12 working days. 
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that if necessary the session could be extended. Kamal Nath also did not agree with the suggestions that the issue of smaller states would overtake the session.
He said Telangana was not a new issue and there has been a debate for long on it. He said there will be discussion on the situation in Uttarakhand in the wake of floods as also on the economic situation. He said government has no objection to discuss any issue on the floor of the House. Asked if the issue of suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti could be raised in Parliament, he said, "It is a state issue, I don't think it can." 
Next: Manmohan Singh asks Opposition to cooperate

Manmohan Singh asks Opposition to cooperate
New Delhi: Lamenting that lot of time has been wasted in the last two to three Parliament sessions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the opposition to cooperate in the passage of the legislative business including the "most important" ordinance on Food security bill. Promising to discuss all issues raised by the Opposition, Singh hoped that the nearly month-long Monsoon sessionstarting Monday will be "very constructive and productive".
"I hope it will be a very constructive and productive session of Parliament. Lot of time was wasted in previous two to three sessions and there is lot of legislative agenda pending before Parliament. "And I sincerely hope that all sections of the House will cooperate in making it very productive and very constructive session," Singh told reporters after an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to ensure smooth functioning of the House.
Maintaining that Government on its part is willing to discuss any issue which may agitate the opposition, he said, "But all that we respectfully ask Opposition is to cooperate with the government in passing the essential legislative work, which is primarily the responsibility of Parliament."
Of all the five to six ordinanaces which are before Parliament, Singh noted that the most important is the one on Food Security. "I sincerely hope that Parliament in its wisdom find it justified to pass that, to convert that ordinance into a bill through an Act of Parliament".
While Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said that Government has received "emphatic assurances" from all political parties about the session being business-like and smooth, Samajwadi Party, which is supporting Government from outside struck a discordant note saying the session would not run smoothly and would be a stormy affair.
Amid turbulence in Gorkhaland after the decision on Telangana, Trinamool Congress wanted a statement by Home Minsiter Sushil Kumar Shinde that now no new state will be carved out cautioning otherwise "India will burn".
Several parties including DMK and Trinamool Congress also raised the issue of judiciary "intefering" in the work of legislatures and expressed concern over "erosion" of Parliament's supremacy.
"We have also pointed out the way the judiciary is functioning and interfering with the legislative's functions and the administrative functions. The Judges Appointment Bill should be decided. The powers of the Supreme Court and the High Courts needs a discussion. Because it is not for the SC/HC to fix the dates of the election. Not that the Supreme Court will say that after a conviction order is issued against any MP or MLA or even if he makes an appeal against it, he cannot contest. They are taking on the role of the legislatures. A very serious discussion is needed on this issue in the House," TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said.
DMK's T R Baalu wanted Constitution to be amended to rectify the recent orders of the Supreme Court including on barring persons behind bars even for a day during polls to contest and that of Supereme Court judgement regarding reservation in AIIMS faculty.
Balu also wanted the Prime Minister to skip the CHOGM meet being held in Colombo later this year. Banerjee said that Collegium system, which is prevailing, in appointment of judges, also needs to be discussed.
"What would be the procedure for the appointment of judges, needs a discussion," he said. He attacked Congress saying its announcement on Telangana was made on the eve of elections, which is putting the country in a "very disturbing position". Alleging that some ministers of state (from West Bengal Congress) are talking about creation of a new state of Gorkhaland, he said that Trinamool Congress will not allow this to happen.
"We have said that unless the Minister of Home Affairs comes to issue a statement that no other state would be created, the country would burn. Almost all over the country, there are burning issues regarding creation of different states.
"There is trouble in Assam also. Last night, some government accommodations have been burnt. This issue has to be resolved fast. Do not make it an election issue," Banerjee said.
Referring to issues of Telangana and food security, Samajawadi Party leader Shailendra Kumar said, "It seems that they (Congress) are eyeing electoral gains by bringing all these issues. I do not think that the session will run smoothly. It will be very turbulent." Kumar said that the kind of issues that the government is coming up with in the session is giving an impression that it was a pre-election session.
However, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister did not agree with suggestions that the issue of smaller states would overtake the session. Nath said Telangana was not a new issue and there has been a debate for long on it.
Responding to concerns of the opposition including Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta that the session was a very short one having just 12 working days, he said that if necessary the session could be extended.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said that the Monsoon session is generally not very long and if all parties cooperate the business can be carried out by sitting for more time and otherwise.
BJP has already expressed its readiness to support the government in passage of food security and land acuqisition bills with certain amendments. The meeting saw a number of Opposition leaders attacking the government on the issue of rising prices.

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