The Congress, Shiv Sena, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have decided to not attend a presentation on Covid that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to make to MPs of both the Houses.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi had on Saturday announced that PM Modi will hold such a session on the pandemic in the Parliament House Annexe.
The Congress today said a discussion on the matter should be held by MPs in the Parliament first.
“If he (PM Modi) wants to give a presentation on Covid, he should give it in the Central Hall separately to MPs and Rajya Sabha members. MPs should be allowed to discuss Covid-related issues in their constituencies,” said the Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Kharge insisted, however, that this wasn’t a boycott.
The SAD reffering to the long-running farmers’ protest over three pieces of Central legislation said that it won’t attend the meeting.
“Today Shiromani Akali Dal will boycott PM Modi’s briefing on COVID-19. It will be attended only after he calls a meeting to discuss farm issues,” said party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Calling the move “highly irregular”, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had said that any address or presentation that the government wants to make must be done inside Parliament.
Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress had tweeted: “MPs do not want fancy PowerPoint presentations on COVID-19 from the PM or this government in some conference room. Parliament is in session. Come to the floor house of the House.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, in Rajya Sabha, said, “Our question is to Centre…why are you hiding the data? Tell us, how many people have lost their lives (due to COVID). Reports say more (deaths) than govt’s official figures.”