Political Standoff Continues in Lok Sabha- Key Bills on Agenda Amid Reduced Opposition Presence

Lok Sabha Braces for Key Bills Amid Political Tensions

Image Showing Political Standoff Continues in Lok Sabha- Key Bills on Agenda Amid Reduced Opposition Presence

As the deadlock persists between the Treasury and the Opposition in the concluding days of the Winter Session, the Lok Sabha faces significant legislative propositions. Notably, a reduced number of MPs from the Congress, TMC, DMK, SP, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, IUML, AAP, VCK, and RSP remain in the lower house amid the ongoing standoff.

Amidst the contentious atmosphere caused by recent record suspensions, the BJP aims to advance three pivotal criminal law amendment Bills and the CEC Bill, previously cleared by the Rajya Sabha. These proposed criminal law amendments seek to replace fundamental legal frameworks like the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Indian Evidence Act with the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, Bharatiya Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is anticipated to present these Bills for passage.

Alongside these crucial legislations, the Lok Sabha is poised to approve the Telecommunications Bill, 2023, and the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023.

Last week, the Rajya Sabha passed the CEC Bill, triggering an Opposition walkout. This Bill proposes the regulation of Election Commission (EC) appointments by establishing a three-member selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition or the leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha, and a Cabinet Minister appointed by the Prime Minister. Opposition MPs have expressed concerns, arguing that the Bill tilts the balance in favor of the government in selecting the CEC and ECs.

In the Rajya Sabha, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to propose the consideration and return of the Central Goods and Services Tax (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023.

In a parallel development, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is slated to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi following the recent INDIA bloc meeting. Mamata aims to solicit the PM’s intervention in releasing central funds for various state projects, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The meeting is scheduled for around 11 am at the Parliament building.

Tensions have escalated between West Bengal and the Centre over alleged irregularities in implementing schemes, leading to a year-long impasse regarding the release of Central funds. In October, TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee led a protest by party workers and scheme beneficiaries alleging non-receipt of funds, which culminated in a demonstration outside the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, having attended the INDIA alliance meeting, was initially set to depart for a 10-day Vipassana meditation course on Tuesday but may now leave on Wednesday morning as per AAP insiders. Kejriwal is expected to skip an Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons scheduled for December 21 concerning a money laundering case related to the Delhi liquor policy.