To prevent a Lokpal debacle, Government delays Monsoon Session by two weeks

In an attempt to buy time, the Government of India has decided to delay the Monsoon session of Parliament by two weeks.

The move will help the Government thrash out all the formalities of framing the Lokpal bill. It was earlier scheduled to convene the Parliament by mid July and present the draft Lokpal bill.

There is also an indication that the Prime Minister will reshuffle his Cabinet before the session.

“The Cabinet Committee on Parliament Affairs has decided to recommend to the President to convene the session of the Parliament by 1st of August,” Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.

The Monsoon Session, expected to be a stormy one with allegations of corruption and other issues, will last from 1st of August to 8 September, according to the new schedule.

The move is likely to disappoint the opposition parties like BJP which had been getting ready to launch a vociferous attack on the Government starting from mid July. The delay will give the Government much needed time to get its act together and also force the opposition parties to come out openly with their inputs on the Lokpal bill.

While the same could have been done in the Parliament also, the proceedings would have been open to the public, giving an opportunity to the opposition to score brownie points. Besides, the Government will not be ready with a clear Lokpal bill if the session is to start in three weeks.

With nearly 40 days remaining, the government now hopes to arrive at a consensus on the bill, away from the public glare associated with Parliamentary sessions.

The government and the opposition parties are playing a game of wills over the Lokpal issue, with the latter trying very hard to avoid committing to any particular position on the bill. Though privately skeptical of a strong Lokpal, the opposition parties have been playing a double game by not expressing their concerns and at the same time attacking the Government for doing so.

The government feels that calling the Parliamentary Session in such a situation will only give a powerful platform for the opposition parties to attack them.