The centre has said that there will be no winter session of Parliament this time due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to the Congress's Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that all political parties favour avoiding the session fearing the spread of infection and are looking forward to the Budget session in January. However, Congress has alleged that it was never consulted.
The Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena said no consultations were held with them over scrapping the session. The Trinamool Congress said it had told Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi that they did not want a shortened winter session.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, had demanded a session to discuss and amend the controversial farm laws that have led to massive protests by farmers' in and around the national capital.
BJP leader Prahlad Joshi replied that he had held discussions with all parties and the consensus was to scrap the session due to COVID even though the monsoon session held in September was "one of the most productive sessions with 27 bills passed in 10 continuous sittings".
"Winter months are very crucial for managing the pandemic because of the recent spurt in cases during this period, particularly in Delhi," Joshi wrote to Congress MP.
"At present, we are in the middle of December and a Covid vaccine is expected very soon. In this regard, I have informally contacted floor leaders of various political parties and they have expressed their concerns about the ongoing pandemic and opined of doing away with Winter Session. The government is willing to have the next session of Parliament at the earliest. It would be appropriate to have the Budget Session, 2021 in January, keeping in mind the unprecedented circumstances created by Covid-19 pandemic (sic)," the letter read, requesting the cooperation of the opposition.
"We wanted to raise the farmers' issues in parliament and wanted a solution. The way the farmers are protesting in the cold is not good for the country's image," the Congress leader told NDTV.
Another senior Congress leader, Jairam Ramesh, tweeted that the government was "departing from the truth".
Several Congress leaders had demanded a session at the earliest, with all precautions in place, saying it was critical to discuss concerns including the farmer protests, the economy and the China row.
In September, the monsoon session was cut short after many MPs were infected with Coronavirus. At least 17 members of the Lok Sabha and eight from the Rajya Sabha had tested positive before the session started. Many MPs who had tested negative initially were infected during the session.
Around 200 of the 785 parliamentarians are above the age of 65 years, which makes them more vulnerable to the deadly virus.
Also Read: "Pandemic Not Good Time For Farms Laws, Government Must Consider Temporary Withdrawal": Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee