An all-party meeting ended on a positive note today as the opposition parties told the government that they would prefer "discussion not disruption" in parliament's monsoon session that begins tomorrow. As a mark of the new amity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who expressed hopes of a fruitful session, was photographed walking hand-in-hand with Mallikarjun Kharge -- the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha -- at the end of the meeting.
PM Modi even posted the photographs with a tweet that said, "Some pictures from the all-party meeting held in Parliament earlier today."
Questioning why only 18 days have been allotted to the monsoon session given the huge workload, the opposition parties said they did not want the House to be adjourned. Eighteen new bills have been lined up for passing in the session, which end on August 10 and have 18 working days.
Among the top priorities is the Triple Talaq Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha and has to be passed in Rajya Sabha. The election of the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman is also expected to be held in this session.
Quoting the Prime Minister, Union Minister Vijay Goel said, "We want all issues to be discussed and brought to the house". The minister also said the government wants a consensus on the post of the Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson.
Besides PM Modi, today's meeting was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and CPI leader D Raja.
The all-party meeting is a norm ahead of every session of parliament, in which the government seeks the cooperation of all parties for smooth running of the house. Despite this, little work was conducted in the second half of the budget session due to disruption by a section of the opposition.
Yesterday, 14 opposition parties held a strategy session after which Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that they arrived at a consensus that they want "parliament to function". If after this, there are disturbances, then the government will be responsible for it, not the opposition, he told reporters.
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