Four winter sessions of Parliament shorter than present one: Minister

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar demanded that the Congress apologise for a meeting between its leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani officials without informing the government. PTI

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Almost 25 pending bills and 14 new ones, including Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Muslim women rights, will be picked up in the session spread over 22 days.

There have been several occasions in the past when the session has not been held in time and for its usual duration.

The Opposition has been claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre delayed the Winter Session to avoid raking up key including GST ahead of the Gujarat and Himachal Assembly polls. However, with no signs of attention given to strengthening the parliamentary democracy, the NDA government has only worsened it over the UPA regime.

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When the House reassembled at noon for Question Hour, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the issue of PM Modi's remarks at an election rally in Gujarat targeting Singh over a dinner meeting with Pakistani diplomats.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel asked how the issue being raised was a point or order, which, he said, was related to the business of the House.

Congress and other opposition parties had slammed the government over delaying the winter session, and accusing it of undermining Parliament with the short session.

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The session, which would continue till January 5, 2018, would discuss many important government initiatives which would have far-reaching impact on the nation, he said.

However, the senior Congress leader charged that the prime minister did not reply to issues raises by them. "The Prime Minister has sought opposition's cooperation for the smooth functioning of Parliament".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed optimism on Friday that the Winter Session of Parliament will be a productive one with constructive debates and innovative suggestions that will help resolve the country's problems.

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A leader, who attended the meeting, said the prime minister also pointed out the government's legislative agenda for the Winter Session and asked them to work together for pushing it in Parliament.

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