Opposition rejects PM Modi’s special address on COVID-19 at parliament Annexe
Opposition parties have rejected the union government’s offer for a dedicated joint address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs at the Parliament Annexe.
On Sunday, an all-party meeting took place ahead of the Monsoon Session of parliament. During the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi announced that the Prime Minister will address all Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs on July 20 on the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Attempt to bypass Parliament’
However, as per reports, opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) and Samajwadi Party have dismissed the government’s offer on PM Modi’s statement on COVID-19. Rejecting the proposal, TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien said that MPs do not want a PowerPoint presentation on COVID-19 from the Prime Minister when the Parliament will be in session. Calling it “another idea to bypass Parliament”, he demanded PM Modi to address the floor of the house on the matter.
“MPs do not want fancy PowerPoint presentations on #COVID19 from the PM or this Government in some conference room. #Parliament is in session. Come to the FLOOR OF THE HOUSE,” O’Brien said on Twitter.
CPI(M) general Sitaram Yechury also said it is “highly irregular” for the government to organize PM Modi’s address outside the Parliament.
“When the Parliament is in session, any address or presentation the government wants to make, it has to be done from inside Parliament. Our stand on this has been very clear,” he said, as quoted by a PTI report.
Other opposition leaders including Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, SP’s Ramgopal Yadav, and BSP’s Satish Mishra have also reportedly refused the offer.
At the same time, some opposition parties are also working on issuing notices on India’s COVID-19 situation in the Parliament, seeking a response from the government on the floor of the house.
India’s COVID-19 management
The ruling BJP party and opposition parties have been sparring over the Modi government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing vaccination campaign in the country. Opposition leaders have been criticizing the Centre over the lack of efforts to limit the spread of the pandemic. The government has also faced massive criticism over the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to non-BJP governed states in particular.
However, the government and BJP leaders have rejected all criticism, praising the Centre’s handling of the pandemic and successful rollout of the nationwide vaccination campaign with domestically produced vaccines.
Meanwhile, the monsoon session is scheduled to take place from July 19 to August 13. Reportedly, both houses are expected to have 19 sittings each, with simultaneous proceedings.