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First Session of the 17th Lok Sabha- Here Are the Key Takeaways

first session of 17th Lok Sabha

As the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha begins on June 17th, two trends have unfolded. PM Narendra Modi, as usual, did not miss the opportunity to set the agenda when he briefed the press just before the session. On the other hand, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s absence in the first session appears to speak volumes about his commitment or the lack of it. Let’s put both these things in perspective. (update- Rahul Gandhi tweeted at 2.38 pm and said he will be taking oath as MP today in the noon.) According to news reports, he was away from the capital when the session began.

PM Modi Setting the Agenda

At the beginning of the session, it is natural for the Prime Minister to wish for the productive discussion in the Parliament. But in his brief address to the media, PM Modi went ahead to address the concern of the opposition even before they raised it. Considering the huge mandate that the BJP and its allies have got in this election, it was expected from the opposition to have apprehensions regarding getting enough room for their voice to be heard. PM Modi addressed that fear proactively by setting a reassuring and positive tone in his media briefing. He said, among other things, that the opposition need not bother about its numbers in the Parliament as his government values the their views. By emphasizing the need for a strong opposition, PM Modi displayed his statesmanship once again. PMO twitter handle has tweeted these parts of his press briefing:

 

Rahul’s Absence

At a time when PM Modi speaks about ‘sabka vishwas’ and takes even the opposition along being true to the spirit of democracy, Congress President Rahul Gandhi who is expected to lead his MPs from the front in the Parliament was nowhere to be seen. At the time of filing this article when a half-day has passed, Rahul Gandhi had not even tweeted about the session. His last tweet is dated June 13. Sometime back at the Congress Parliamentary Party meet, Rahul Gandhi had reportedly said that his 52 MPs are going to fight BJP for every inch. Now, the people are asking is this the way the leader of the opposition shows his interest in the democratic discourse? The below headline and tweet reflect the opinion that has been taking shape on the Congress party and its leader.

 

The Agenda

It has been reported that apart from the budget, the re-introduction of triple talaq bill is a prominent agenda on the government’s side. While in the previous term itself, BJP had made this an issue about giving justice to women while Congress chose to see it as a religious issue and had promised to scrap triple talaq law, completely disregarding the agony of women who suffered from the instant triple talaq. While the PM expressed his happiness on the  new house having the highest number of women MPs, it remains to be seen whether Congress wants to further weaken its credential on women empowerment by opposing the law against instant triple talaq.

Overall, the initial trends of the first session of 17th Lok Sabha which is in a way sets tone for the coming five years, unfortunately, suggest that the grand old party is struggling to live up to the expectation even as the opposition.

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