The row over Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s reported statement that his party is for Muslims is set to cast its shadow over Parliament’s Monsoon Session as both the BJP and the Opposition look to set the tone for some key state polls before the next Lok Sabha elections in less than 10 months.
If the BJP would like to push the issue into political centre stage, opposition parties, which are seen to be closing ranks to take on the ruling NDA, would target the government over its alleged failures on the economic front, nationwide cases of lynching, the political crisis in Kashmir and price rise.
Many believe that the upcoming session may turn out to be as tumultuous as the preceding Budget Session, which was a virtual washout with key legislation, including the Finance Bill, passed without any debate due to the continuous ruckus.
The BJP has seized on Gandhi’s remarks allegedly made in a meeting with Muslim intellectuals to accuse the Congress of “Muslim appeasement”, even as the opposition party has denied that he ever made these comments and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pursuing divisive agenda to win elections after his governance “failure”.
BJP leaders believe that a political narrative imbued with its Hindutva agenda will suit the party as it battles anti-incumbency in poll-bound states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and gears up for the next Lok Sabha polls next year.
The government is keen to push politically significant legislations like triple talaq bill that criminalises instant divorce pronounced by Muslim men and also the OBC bill that seeks constitutional status for a commission meant for backward classes, a massive voting bloc being wooed by the saffron party.
Dalit issues are also likely to be raised in the session.
Andhra Pradesh parties, the TDP and the YSR Congress, are likely to push for no-confidence motions against the government for denying the state special category status. Their motions were not taken up in the last session as the Speaker said the Lok Sabha was not in order.
Farm issues are also likely to figure among the key issues with the BJP set to cite the government’s move to raise MSP for several crops as a proof of its pro-farmers credentials while the opposition looking to corner it over alleged farm distress.