BJP sources said there are not more than three to four issues that will come up for discussion during the five-day session. File photo

Modi keeps special session agenda a mystery; leaves colleagues, allies guessing

The BJP and NDA MPs are as perplexed and clueless as the Opposition about the agenda of the special Parliament meeting called by the Centre

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Forget the Opposition, even leaders of the ruling BJP and its allies appear to be clueless about the reasons Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened a special session of Parliament this month.

For once, everyone is busy guessing and speculating why the five-day session has been called by the government from September 18.

MPs from the BJP and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are as perplexed as the Opposition over the agenda of the meeting.

“What can we do if the prime minister does not want to share the agenda of the special session? Who do we ask? It is not part of my responsibility to try and find out the agenda if the prime minister has chosen to keep it a secret,” a senior BJP leader told The Federal.

He added: “I have worked long enough with the prime minister, and I can easily say that if the agenda is being guarded, then it will be something very important and it will be of national importance.”

NDA allies

The NDA partners are also in the dark about the agenda of the meeting.

“We have only heard it from the media. We have not been informed about the agenda of the meeting or why it has been called,” said a senior leader of the NDA on the condition of anonymity.

“We are also wondering why the government chose to call a session just a few weeks after the end of the monsoon session of Parliament,” he added.

The NDA leader referred to the high-powered committee formed by the Centre to study the 'One Nation, One Election' issue. “We wonder if it will be able to submit a report before the special session.”

Some BJP and NDA members are busy going through the election manifesto of 2019. Most of them believe that the Union government has fulfilled most of the promises made to the electorate five years ago.

Some NDA leaders pointed out that among a few issues yet to be fulfilled by the ruling coalition is one on Women’s Reservation Bill.

Women’s Reservation Bill likely?

“Women’s welfare and development will be accorded a high priority at all levels within the government, and the BJP is committed to 33 per cent reservation in Parliament and state assemblies through a constitutional amendment,” the BJP said in its manifesto issued for the 2019 elections.

BJP sources said there are not more than three to four issues that will come up for discussion during the five-day session.

BJP leaders believe that apart from the Women’s Reservation Bill, another issue that could be taken up for amendment is the Places of Worship Act which prohibits conversion of any place of worship and maintained the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.

One BJP leader added: “The construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya will be completed in January next year. And the BJP is also committed to the constitutional settlement of other disputed sites. We will have to wait and see the surprise planned by the prime minister.”

The uncertainty over the agenda of the special session has created a sense of worry among the NDA allies in the northeast as they fear that the Union government could try to bring the controversial Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for voting.

Uniform Civil Code

The passage of UCC is not just an election promise of the BJP but is related to the ideology of the party.

NDA leaders warned that the BJP will make a mistake if it tries to bring a Bill on UCC because it will not get support from its allies in the northeast and also parties like YSRCP, Telugu Desam Party and Shiromani Akali Dal.

NDA members from the northeast, however, added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured them that the UCC bill will not be brought by the Union government in the current term.

“We will not support the UCC bill if it comes. No allies of the BJP in the northeast will support it,” said a senior leader of the NPP.

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