All party meet : Parties with less than 10 MPs not allowed to speak; Modi govt cites “logistical issues”

Political parties having less than 10 MPs in Parliament will not be allowed to speak in forthcoming all-party meeting called by PM Modi, said sources

Parliament of India (File photo)
Parliament of India (File photo)

NH Political Bureau

Political parties having less than 10 MPs in the Parliament will not be allowed to speak in forthcoming all-party meeting called by PM Modi, said sources.

The meeting that has been called on December 4, will mull over the roadmap for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, management of the pandemic and status of the winter session.

Sources told NH that the representatives of smaller parties with less than 10 MPs in Parliament will not be allowed  speak due to “time constraint and logistical issues”.

A Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha MP confirmed that he was conveyed about the new “speaking arrangement” by the government on Monday.

Sources said that the government is of view that the meeting should be meaningful and not lengthy.

CPI MP Binoy Viswam has sent a letter to the prime minister arguing that the leaders of smaller parties should also be allowed to speak. Reacting to the development, he has said in the letter, “It is deeply unfortunate that the voice of millions of Indians who are represented by these MPs will be silenced on such an important thing due to logistical issues. I urge you to kindly reconsider this decision and allot some time to MPs from smaller parties to share their opinion and suggestions on the pandemic”.

Some leaders are of the view that the Opposition should boycott the meeting. However, no strategy has been chalked out in this regard.

“What is the point of holding the meeting if smaller parties are not allowed to speak? The government wants to muzzle the voice of the opposition and show that they are the mightiest one,” said a senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader.

Saying that he does not recall any such precedence, the SP leader said, “Their (government) idea is to make Indian Parliament irrelevant”.

In the 17th Lok Sabha, there are only nine political parties whose number of MPs exceed the benchmark set by the Modi government: BJP (302), JD(U) (16), INC (51), DMK (24). AITC (22), YSRCP (21), SHS (18), BJD (12) and BSP (10).

If the government adheres to its decision, smaller parties such as CPI, CPM, SP, NCP, AAP will not be allowed to take part in the discussion.

While the AAP government rules the capital city of Delhi – one of the worst hit by the pandemic, NCP shares power with the Congress and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

If parties ruling Delhi and Maharashtra will not be allowed to share their experience and suggestions with the Central government, what purpose is the all party meet going to serve?” asked a leader.

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