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Congress, BJP spar over delay in Parliament's winter session


New Delhi: The Congress and the BJP on Tuesday sparred over the delay in convening Parliament's winter session with the opposition party claiming that the government was doing so to avoid a debate on "scams", including the Rafale deal, during the Gujarat polls.

The BJP, however, rejected the Congress's tirade as a "chorus of baseless allegations" and insisted that previous governments, including the UPA, had also scheduled sessions after state polls as politicians are busy in campaign

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the winter session, which generally starts from November's third week, will be convened in December

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan denied reports that the session will not be held, saying, "I can only say that there will be a winter session for sure."

Earlier at a press conference, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Anand Sharma targeted the government, claiming that it did not want to face the opposition over "scams" linked to Rafale deal, the GST and the note ban

In a jibe at Modi, Kharge said the prime minister was like "Brahma the creator" and only he knew when the winter session will be held

"I have talked to many ministers, the Speaker, Lok Sabha Secretary General, but no one knows the dates of Parliament session. Only one man knows and they call him Brahma, the creator. That's why till Brahma orders, we won't know the dates (of Parliament session)," Kharge told reporters

Taking on the Congress, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted that Assembly polls have often played a role in fixing timing of sessions

Addressing a press conference, Prasad said it has been an "established tradition" to schedule session so that its timing does not clash with state polls

It had also happened when Indira Gandhi and Chandra Shekhar were prime ministers, he said, adding that the session had started twice after Christmas

Kumar said that the opposition party is suffering from "selective amnesia" as in 2008 and 2013 also the winter session was held in December

The Congress was already looking for an excuse for its impending defeat in the state polls, Prasad claimed.

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