Government Keen On Very Short - Or No - Winter Session Of Parliament

The constitution does not specify how many times parliament must meet in a year, but the gap between sessions cannot be longer than six months. The norm has been three meetings per year (Budget, Monsoon and Winter sessions).

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Government Keen On Very Short - Or No - Winter Session Of Parliament

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Based on the opposition's reaction, government could call a short winter session: Sources

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Gap between parliament sessions cannot cross 6 months
  2. PM, other BJP leaders busy campaigning for state elections
  3. Cancelling winter session or capping it at 10 days being considered
For the first time ever, the winter session of parliament may not be called this year. Sources in the government said that with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top ministers busy with campaigning for the election in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP has discussed the possibility of letting the year lapse without parliament meeting in December.

The most recent session of parliament met in the monsoon and ended on August 11.

"I don't know why the government is so cagey about dates. It may be a good idea to make a parliament calendar at the start of the year, so the dates become sacrosanct," said Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien.

The constitution does not specify how many times parliament must meet in a year, but the gap between sessions cannot be longer than six months. The norm has been three meetings per year (Budget, Monsoon and Winter sessions).

So technically, the government has till February to ask for parliament to meet. However, with the new practice of presenting the annual budget on February 1, the next session is likely to be convened in the middle of January.

If the opposition's reaction is severely critical, the government could tweak its plans to call a short winter session in December for about 10 days, said government sources.

The opposition, which has been attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration for the economic slowdown, is likely to allege bypassing a parliament session in the winter is designed to protect the government from a combined attack by a league of about 17 parties that have formed an anti-BJP front.  

Himachal Pradesh votes next week. Gujarat votes next month. Results for both will be counted on December 18. The PM is campaigning in both states and will also soon travel to Karnataka to campaign for the BJP ahead of the southern state's election early next year. 

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