New Delhi, Nov 22: The government is considering calling the winter session of Parliament from December 15 after completion of polling in Gujarat in the Assembly elections and the dates would be out once the Presidential nod is secured for an ordinance on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code.
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, met on Wednesday and decided that the session would end on January 5, sources said. There are likely to be 13 sittings.
A formal announcement on the dates is likely to be made in a day or two after President Ram Nath Kovind signs the ordinance since an ordinance cannot be promulgated during a session. Parliament is considered to be in session once it is formally convened.
Rejecting opposition criticism that the government wants to avoid parliament before the elections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the session will be held and it will be a regular session, not overlapping with the Gujarat Assembly election dates.
“Certainly, the winter session will be held and it will be a regular session. We are going to ensure that a regular winter session is held and it does not overlap with election dates,” he told the media after the Cabinet meeting here.
Jaitley was asked about the opposition charge that the government was trying to avoid debates on issues like unemployment, corruption, Goods and Services Tax and allegations against BJP chief Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah, ahead of the Gujarat election on December 9 and 14.
“In a democracy, when elections are held, political parties address people directly. Elections and Parliament sessions generally do not overlap. This has been the practice in the past. Even the winter session has been deferred, altered and broken into parts,” he said.
“At least we have lot of stakes in this election. I donot know our opponents will be busy in campaigning or not but we will be busy,” he said.
Jaitley said even when general elections were held, passage of the Budget was deferred and Parliament adjourned so that parties were free to participate in electioneering.
Asked if the winter session extending into January 2018 would be treated as a new session, he said: “It has already been settled that once the winter session starts and goes into January, it is not the first session (of the year).”
The Congress and the BJP have been at loggerheads over the winter session, with the opposition accusing the government of trying to avoid exposure over embarrassing issues ahead of the Gujarat elections.