Seventeen MPs have tested positive for the coronavirus in tests carried out before Parliament’s monsoon session started Monday,NDTV reported.
The Lok Sabha members were tested at Parliament House on September 13 and 14, the website said quoting unnamed sources. The BJP had the most infected MPs at 12, the YRS Congress has two, the Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP one each, said the report.
The Monsoon Session began with numbers weighing heavily in the government’s favour. While the Opposition’s numerical strength in the Rajya Sabha has dipped significantly after the last round of elections in June (the Congress is now down to just 40 MPs in the Upper House from 46 in May), most senior leaders would be giving the Session a miss for health reasons.
Opposition parties have already decided that transgressions by China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the economy, and the government’s handling of Covid would be priority issues.
There will be discussions on important legislation, although, on some, there will be bipartisan agreement. For instance, two Bills to replace Ordinances, reducing the salary and allowances of ministers and MPs by 30 per cent from April 1 for a year given the pandemic, are expected to be passed without much discussion. The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, which changes the date by which taxpayers have to file their returns will replace an Ordinance promulgated following the outbreak of Covid-19. This too is expected to be passed with minimal debate.
But at the other end of the spectrum, the three Ordinances that relate to the selling and marketing of agricultural produce (see Consider the Evidence) are expected to generate a lot of heat. While all NDA members will likely support the corresponding Bills, differing voices will be heard from even within the BJP.