PM Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu after an all-party dinner in New Delhi (Press Trust of India photo)
Ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, which begins today, the Opposition parties are closing ranks to put a united front against the Narendra Modi government.
"We along with parties such as Trinamool, CPM and others will oppose the Insurance Bill," said Janata Dal (United) lawmaker KC Tyagi, after attending an all-party meeting in Delhi on Sunday. "This session will witness a lot of hungama
," he added.
Mr Tyagi also said that all the parties belonging to the Janata Parivar - Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal, Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and Janata Dal (Secular) of HD Deve Gowda - will be on a common platform.
Trinamool Congress, which skipped Sunday's all-party meet after engaging in a bitter war of words with the BJP, will find support from other parties in raising the issue of black money, a key campaign issue of the Modi government.
The Opposition also wants Prime Minister Modi to clarify his government's stand on hate speeches, and what the Opposition calls, "the rising number of communal flare-ups" across the country.
Opposition parties have also red-flagged the proposed changes in the land acquisition bill and the MNREGA, both landmark legislation passed during the UPA government's tenure.
On economic issues, however, the Opposition's index of unity may not be high. For example, Congress refused to spell its stand on the Insurance Bill. "We will decide when the bill comes to the floor of the House," said Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, when asked what would be the Congress stand on the bill.
On its part, the government seemed confident about the session and said it was ready to discuss any issue. Speaking to reporters after the all-party meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, "The PM hoped that this session will also function very well like the Budget Session."