Testing time ahead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi at NITI Aayog meeting in New Delhi, July 15
Testing time ahead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi at NITI Aayog meeting in New Delhi, July 15

NEW DELHI (TIP): The absence of chief ministers belonging to the Congress and the third front from the July 15 meeting of Niti Ayog called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a clear indication that the opposition is looking forward to confront the NDA government. The ensuing prestigious Assembly elections in Bihar are expected to add fuel to the fire as the opposition looks to score brownie points over a plethora of issues.

The Modi government has already braced up for the fight. Speaking on the contentious land acquisition bill, which had been a cause of confrontation with the Congress and other opposition parties in the past, Finance minister Arun Jaitley has already stated that the Centre was planning to leave it to the states to implement their own land acquisition laws. Even the BJP’s coalition partner Shiromani Akali Dal had expressed reservations on some of the proposed provisions of the Bill. It is of the view that the consent of the farmers whose land is to be acquired must be made mandatory.

But besides the land acquisition bill, there are a host of issues which are expected to keep the government on a leash during the session.

Although the Madhya Pradesh government has agreed for a CBI inquiry into the Vyapam scandal, the BJP is likely to come under heavy fire in the light of new revelations that the main accused in the scandal had been hosting BJP and RSS leaders and had given them favors. The opposition is also likely to ask for MP Chief Minister’s resignation.

The biggest attack is likely to be mounted against external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and the Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia for their alleged links with cricket czar Lalit Modi. The prime minister, who has been maintaining a studied silence over the issue, may be forced to come out with a clear stand.

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It is a strange and interesting coincidence that  the three targets of the opposition attack –  Sushma, Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and the MP chief minister Chauhan-.were  believed  to be in the camp opposed to projecting Modi as party’s prime ministerial candidate.

Another major target of the opposition attack is going to be Education minister Smriti Irani over her alleged false declaration of her educational qualifications.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has already made it known that it would be virtually impossible to transact any business if the opposition demands for the resignations of two Central ministers and Rajasthan Chief Minister are not met.

The government would like to move forward on two important legislations — The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014, and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2015.

The NDA leaders also met on Thursday, July 16 to devise a strategy to counter the expected opposition onslaught. Their attempt is to put the onus for the likely non-functioning of Parliament on the opposition.

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