Parliament session timing riles MPs from poll-bound states

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The timing of the next parliament session, commencing on Monday, has left many parliamentarians from poll-bound states anxious with some of them claiming it a deliberate attempt on the government’s part to keep opposition members out.

While assembly elections are still on in West Bengal till May 5, those in Tamil Nadu and Kerala will be held on May 16.

Since the MPs from these states are supposed to be busy in campaigning for their parties in assembly elections, they are not likely to find time to attend the entire session.

“With elections going on in three major states, that is, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it is natural that MPs from these states would be busy campaigning for their parties and candidates,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist MP P. Karunakaran, who represents Kerala’s Kasaragod.

“In view of this, I think the timing of this session is not suitable,” he added.

AIADMK MP K, Kamaraj, who represents Tamil Nadu’s Kallakurichi, agreed with the point.

“Since I would be busy campaigning for the assembly elections, I am not very likely to attend the parliament session, or at least the entire session,” Kamaraj said. He, however, refused to comment on other MPs’ schedule.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MP from Kerala’s Malappuram E. Ahamed however played down the issue.

“Parliament sessions are convened even when assembly elections are being conducted in states. This is not such a serious issue. The polling is on May 16 in our states, there is enough time,” said the former union minister.

There are some contentious bills lined up in parliament including the Enemy Property Bill and the GST Bill. Incidentally, most of the MPs coming from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala belong to opposition parties.

“It is the government’s responsibility to make the session fruitful and see that all members are able to participate. But it seems the government deliberately wanted the opposition members out of the session,” Karunakaran said.

Former CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat echoed Karunakaran’s views.

“Before calling the parliament session, the government should have kept in mind the ongoing assembly elections in the states from where a large chunk of members come. Most of the MPs, I guess, won’t be able to attend this session,” he said.

“It seems the government deliberately kept the session at this time to keep most opposition away from the house,” he added.

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