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Winter Session of Parliament to start day after Gujarat Assembly election on 15 December, will conclude on 5 January

New Delhi: The Centre is contemplating convening the Winter Session of Parliament from 15 December, a day after the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls, government functionaries said on Wednesday.

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh met in New Delhi on Wednesday to deliberate upon the dates of the session. The session would likely be held from 15 December till 5 January, sources said on the condition of anonymity.

Later, briefing the reporters on the Cabinet decisions, Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley said the Winter Session schedule would be such that it did not overlap with the Assembly elections, and it would be a "regular" session.

He said in a democracy when elections were on, political parties addressed the people directly. "...normally the elections and Parliament session don't overlap," he said to responding to a question. "Therefore, we are going to ensure that a regular Winter Session is held, but elections and session dates don't overlap," he said.

In an apparent dig at the Congress, Jaitley said the Gujarat elections were important for the BJP and it would be busy campaigning there, but he was not sure whether its opponents would be busy in the campaigning or not.

A file image of the Indian Parliament. PTI

A file image of the Indian Parliament. PTI

Asked whether a session which begins in December can continue in January without the customary address of the president, Jaitley said the issue was settled long back. He said if the session spilled over to January, it was not considered a fresh session. The president addressed the first session of a calendar year, the minister said.

The functionaries indicated that the dates of the Winter Session would be formally announced after two ordinances placed before the Cabinet today were promulgated. An ordinance cannot be issued when the dates of the session are announced.

The opposition had attacked the government for delaying the Winter Session, claiming that it was being done to avoid a debate on scams, including the Rafale deal, ahead of Gujarat Assembly election. 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 were busy campaigning.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar had said the Winter Session, which generally starts from November's third week, would be convened in December.

Updated Date: Nov 24, 2017 11:58 AM

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