New Delhi: "MPs do not want fancy PowerPoint presentations on #COVID19 from the PM or this Government in some conference room," so went a tweet by Trinamool Congress leader in parliament, Derek O'Brien. He further eted. "#Parliament is in session. Come to the FLOOR OF THE HOUSE," he added.
O'Brien's tweet probably was a dig at most of the Central government's parleys with Opposition leaders in recent times ending up as one-sided presentations, with not much room for either bilateral or group discussions towards a consensus.
Further, as example of the Prime Minister's seriousness in hearing the opposition in such meetings, O'Brien gave the timings in another tweet: "Today's all-party meet before #Parliament session. 11am-1.28pm: Leaders of Oppn parties speak. Urge GOI not to mock Parliament & discuss issues. 1.29pm: HE enters. 1.30-1.31pm: Photo Op. 1.32-1.34pm: Last Oppn leader speaks. 1.35-1.39pm: HE speaks. 1.40: Bye (HE was there for 9 mins)."
Meanwhile, Parliament began its monsoon session on Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address in which he also introduced the newly elected ministers of his cabinet.
Just before the session, Modi told mediapersons in the parliament premises that the Opposition could ask "the most difficult and sharpest questions" in the houses "but should allow the government to respond in a peaceful environment answers, an implicit criticism of the opposition's disruptions during proceedings.
At Sunday's pre-session meeting also, PM said that the government is ready to hold discussions on any subject if raised in line with parliamentary rules and procedures.
"Took part in the All-Party meeting before the start of Parliament's Monsoon Session. We look forward to a productive session where all issues can be debated as well as discussed in a constructive manner," Modi tweeted after the meeting.
More than 40 leaders from 33 parties attended the all-party meeting. From the Treasury bench, Among the key leaders present in the all-party meeting were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal, and key participants from the Opposition included Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, TMC MP Derek O'Brien and DMK's Tiruchi Siva.
Such all-party meetings are customary in parliament before the beginning of each session, as an attempt to ensure effective conduct of proceedings. This monsoon session is scheduled to end on August 13, before which the government plans to introduce some new bills too.
(With inputs from agencies)