As the national capital gets engulfed in winter fog and chilling winds from the north, the political temperature in New Delhi is set to rise when the results of Gujarat assembly are announced on Monday. But ahead of that, political skirmishes are already seen taking place as the winter session of parliament kicked off on Friday.
The legislation related to restricting the practice of Triple Talaq and the all-important GST state compensation bill are the two important bills among 40 others to be cleared by Parliament in the winter session that kicked off on Friday but beyond this, there are also some significant political aspects to the current session.
BJP national President Amit Shah has entered the house for the first time as a member. Rajya Sabha will see Shah sitting in the first row on the treasury benches. Many would wonder why at this stage the BJP decided to bring Shah to the Rajya Sabha. The reason behind this is BJP’s agenda to add some political weight behind BJP’s members in the house who have struggled because of lower strength in the past few years. It also signifies the possibility of Shah entering the union cabinet at some stage later when he relinquishes the national president’s position and clearly seems that the party wants to give his exposure to parliamentary procedures.
The first day of the session on Friday saw the opposition raising their voice against the disqualification of veteran member Sharad Yadav. His absence will be felt because he is one of the very vocal members of the house. Along with this, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati’s sudden exit from the house in the last session would mean that she is not in the house anymore.
Veteran left leader Sitaram Yechuri too is not in the house this time. So Yechuri, Yadav and Mayawati’s absence would surely be felt by left and ‘left of centre’ force.
Another significant development is former Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s announcement on Friday that she is now looking towards retirement. Most UPA alliance members and even the left parties always said that Sonia has always been a ‘great listener’ and she played a crucial role in keeping the UPA together. Sonia now thinking of retirement would present the possibility of some vacuum being created in the UPA leadership and only time would tell if Rahul Gandhi could effectively fill that vacuum.
In many ways, this session of parliament is a landmark session for all the above reasons. Many new beginnings are being made, many traditions are going to see discontinuation. How politics shapes from here till the 2019 poll season would be an interesting thing to watch.