Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Onus of running parliament smoothly on BJP: Lok Sabha Congress leader


New Delhi: The Congress party does not want any “unnecessary disruptions” during the upcoming winter session of parliament, according to a top leader of the party.

Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha says that his party is all for peaceful discussion on issues of national importance, but the onus of ensuring smooth functioning of Parliament would be on the BJP.

“We are ready to cooperate (on running the house smoothly) but the obligation of it would be on the BJP,” Kharge told IANS in a telephonic interview.

The winter session of parliament begins on November 26 and will last till December 23.

The Congress leader, when asked about the impact of Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in Bihar assembly polls on Parliament, said no party wanted disruptions in the house but the BJP cannot go on “bulldozing (the Opposition) in the Lok Sabha” just because it has a majority.

“They would have to make it a bilateral process. (They) would have to discuss issues with opposition parties before proceeding ahead,” he said, accusing the ruling alliance of not taking the Opposition into confidence in the past which resulted in problems in the Rajya Sabha.

Kharge said that the Congress party would meet either on November 25 or 26 to decide its strategy. He said his party would also discuss the issues with all opposition parties before the session begins.

The Congress leader stressed several times that the Opposition would not try to disrupt parliamentary proceedings unnecessarily.

“There would be no unwarranted disruptions,” he said, adding that they would raise various issues, including inflation, atrocities on Dalits and the Dadri incident.

“We want public grievances to be highlighted,” he said.

On being asked about BJP’s comment that there would not be any impact of Bihar results on national politics, Kharge said: “They themselves are demoralised. How can they say it would have no impact.”

The Congress leader warned that “If anything goes wrong” the ruling party would be responsible for it unless they followed a policy of “give and take.”

The last session of the 16th Lok Sabha witnessed constant disruptions and no major business could be transacted.

(Sushil Kumar, IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)