India parliament gets set for election

2014-02-05 15:03
Congress Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi gestures as he addresses Congress supporters at the party's headquarters in Srinagar. (Tauseef Mustafa, AFP)

Congress Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi gestures as he addresses Congress supporters at the party's headquarters in Srinagar. (Tauseef Mustafa, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

New Delhi - India's parliament reconvened on Wednesday for its last session before a general election, a final chance for the ruling Congress party to convince voters it is taking action on corruption and to showcase the resolve of leader Rahul Gandhi.

After 10 years in power, the popularity of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by Congress, has sagged in large part over a series of graft scandals as well as its inability to halt a sliding economy.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calls it a lame duck government that is merely making a last-ditch attempt to shore up support. It should leave decisions to the next government, BJP leaders say.

On the eve of parliament reopening, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to all parties to help push through legislation.

"I sincerely hope that parliament, in its wisdom, will transact the essential business which is the primary concern of any legislature in a parliamentary democracy," Singh said in a statement.

The world's largest democracy must hold a parliamentary election by May and the date is expected to be announced round about the close of the session on 21 February.

The bills due to come up for debate in the session cover issues that Gandhi, the fourth generation member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that leads Congress, has championed, including women's empowerment and graft.

But it may be too little, too late.

Opinion polls put the BJP, a conservative Hindu nationalist party spearheaded by Narendra Modi, ahead of Congress.

The newly formed Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, Party (AAP), which campaigns against corruption and took power in the capital Delhi in local elections in December, could draw voters away from either one while a number of smaller parties are discussing the formation of a "Third Front".

Chandan Mitra, a BJP upper house member, said parliament should not be rushed into passing bills without due scrutiny.

"There is no obligation on the part of the opposition to allow Mr Rahul Gandhi to get his agenda pushed though," Mitra told Reuters. "The government is trying to end this term on a high, but we don't want to give them an easy ride."

Economy

Congress will try to push through 39 bills including six anti-corruption bills to address public anger over graft. They address issues such as protection for whistleblowers and corruption in the judiciary.

The coalition will also try to pass a bill that creates a new southern state and an interim budget expected to contain pre-election sops for voters.

The new state, Telangana, would be carved out of Andhra Pradesh. The bill should generate vote-winning support for Congress but its passage could lead to disruptions in parliament that derail other matters.

There is also a bill on reserving a bloc of parliamentary seats for women - reflecting the growing prominence of women's issues after a series of sexual assaults.

The BJP's Mitra said the interim budget was a priority.

"The interim budget will be passed as no one wants a shutdown," he said.

Ajay Gudavarthy, a politics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said Congress hoped to use the session to present itself and Gandhi as forces that can fight corruption.

"The party is trying to build an image for Rahul Gandhi. He is a bit of a non-symbol now and that is a big problem," he said.

But the party faces a struggle to make over an image tainted by graft scandals which have touched on government deals for everything from sports venues to coal mines.

"I don't think they can do this in such a short space of time. It's just a face-saving exercise, even if they do pass the bills," Gudavarthy said.

Mandira Kala, head of research at PRS Legislative Research, said the corruption issue should not detract attention from the economy. Once a star performer, India's growth has slowed in recent years and it is now weathering a storm in emerging markets.

"The focus might be on anti-corruption now, but when you look at what the economy needs there are a lot of bills that are not being looked at," said Kala, picking out a pending higher education bill and a mining bill as examples.

Read more on:    rahul gandhi  |  india
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
 

17 photo illusions that look so real

What if they aren’t illusions? What if that dog really has a human foot – then what?

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Don`t judge so quickly or expect too much, be more accepting and understanding and make space for fun and spontaneity. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.