The first session of 17th Lok Sabha will commence today, which will see the passing of the Union Budget and some key legislations like Triple Talaq bill being on top of the government agenda.
The government had promulgated as many as 10 ordinances for the session which ends on July 26 and will have 30 sittings. Among the bills that will be introduced, the one on triple talaq could prove to be contentious.
The first two days of the session will be completely devoted to oath-taking by 542 members of the lower House of the Parliament.
One seat in the House is vacant as the election for Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu was cancelled on charges of money use. Two more MPs will be nominated by the government from the Anglo Indian community, making the full house of 545.
The oath-taking by the new members will be overseen by the protem Speaker Virendra Kumar. President Ram Nath Kovind will administer him the oath of the office today morning at the Rashtrapati Bhavan before the Parliament Session begins. He will be assisted by a panel of senior members including Kodikunnil Suresh and Bhatruhari Mahtab in overseeing the proceedings when members take oath on Monday and Tuesday.
The election of Speaker of the Lok Sabha will be held on Wednesday followed by a joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament on Thursday when President Kovind will deliver his customary address.
Interest is now centred on who will be the new Speaker in the place of Sumitra Mahajan who did not contest the recent elections.
It remains to be seen whether the new Speaker will be a woman and if so whether it could be former minister Maneka Gandhi, also a senior MP. Before Mahajan, during the second term of the UPA, the post was held by Meira Kumar who became the first woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
The Union Budget will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on July 5, preceded by a pre-Budget Economic survey on July 4. It will be the full Budget of the year because the one presented before the elections was a vote on account.
Ahead of the session, the BJP parliamentary party was reconstituted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the leader of the House in the Lok Sabha and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh being his deputy. Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot has been named the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal being his deputy.
Arun Jaitley, who was the Leader of the House, during the first Modi government, will be missed as he opted out of the government on health grounds.
Main opposition party Congress has yet to decide its leader of the party in both Houses of the Parliament. Sonia Gandhi, however, has been elected as leader of the Congress parliamentary party.
This session of the Parliament will have no former prime ministers as Manmohan Singh’s Rajya Sabha term ended Friday while H D Deve Gowda could not make it to the Lok Sabha.
Some prominent faces will be missed in the session. Senior BJP leaders like L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharati, as they did not contest the elections. Similarly, Mallikarjun Kharge, who was the Leader of the Congress in the 16th Lok Sabha, and his deputy Jyotiraditya Scindia, will not be seen in the House as they failed to win the polls.
Some new faces including heavyweights Home Minister Amit Shah, Child and Women Welfare Minister Smriti Irani, Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur, cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir (BJP), actors Ravi Kishan, Sunny Deol, singer Hans Raj Hans will appear on the treasury benches of the Lok Sabha.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a customary all-party meet where he said that the Parliament session should begin with “fresh zeal and new thinking”.
Addressing the media after the all-party meeting, parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi said that Modi has urged leaders of all parties to “introspect whether members of Parliament are able to fulfil people’s aspirations as their representatives and the manner in which last two years of the 16th Lok Sabha were wasted”.