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Sonia Gandhi’s Letter to PM Modi Triggers Heated Debate on Parliament Session’s Agenda

Since the announcement of a special session of Parliament set to commence on September 18 by the Central government, both the Opposition and the BJP have engaged in a verbal joust over the matter. Earlier today, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the agenda of the impending special Parliament session. She drew attention to the absence of a clear agenda for the special Parliament session scheduled to start on September 18 and presented a list of nine topics, urging their inclusion for discussion. These topics encompassed issues such as Center-state relations, communalism, the situation in Manipur, and the border dispute with China.

In her letter, the Congress leader stated, “You have convened a special five-day session of Parliament beginning on September 18, 2023. I must point out that this Special Session has been convened without any consultation with other political parties. None of us have any idea of its agenda.”

A few hours later, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi responded to Sonia Gandhi’s letter to PM Modi, accusing the Congress MP of politicizing the functioning of Parliament. He explained, “The session has been called following tradition. Perhaps you are not paying attention to tradition. Before calling the Parliament session, there is never any discussion with political parties, nor are the issues discussed. After the calling of the session by the President and before commencement of the session, there is a meeting of the leaders of all the parties in which the people rising in the Parliament are discussed. Issues and work are discussed,” the minister stated.

Minister Joshi’s response prompted a reaction from Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who criticized the Parliamentary Affairs Minister for “misleading” the public. Ramesh retorted, “How much will you mislead Joshi-avare? On each and every occasion of a Special Session/Sitting, the agenda was well known in advance. It is only the Modi government that routinely disrespects Parliament and distorts Parliamentary conventions.”

The Congress leader also shared a list of past instances where the agenda was laid out before the special session commenced, stating, “Past governments, including yours, have called many Special Sittings to commemorate Constitution Day, Quit India Movement, and other such occasions.