The passage of Union Budget and the triple talaq will be on top of the agenda for the government as the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will commence from Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chairing an all-party meeting on the eve of the first session, invited heads of all parties to a meeting on June 19 who have an MP either in the Lower House or the Rajya Sabha to discuss the "one nation, one election" issue.
The meeting will also discuss the issue of celebrations of 75 years of India's Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said.
Modi also invited all MPs from both houses of Parliament for a dinner on June 20 where they will interact freely and exchange views. "Both these are initiatives are aimed to build 'esprit de corps' among members of all parties in Parliament," Joshi said.
Modi said the first session of the Lower House of Parliament should begin with "fresh zeal and new thinking", noting that there are many new faces in this Lok Sabha.
At the all-party meeting, the Congress raised with the government issues of unemployment, farmers distress, drought, and press freedom, while also calling for early conduct of assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
The opposition parties demanded discussion on all such issues in Parliament, with the Congress asserting that it is still a "fight of ideologies".
The prime minister, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress lawmakers Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, K Suresh, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and TMC leader Derek O'Brien were present at the meeting.
The BJP also held its parliamentary party meet here Sunday, with Modi assuring the leaders that his government will be at the forefront of facilitating legislations that manifest the spirit of "sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas".
A day before the first session, a meeting of the NDA was also held in New Delhi. The Lok Sabha will have 30 sittings and the Rajya Sabha 27 sittings between June 17 to July 26.
The Modi government had promulgated ten ordinances in its first term after the opposition used its majority in the Rajya Sabha to block the bills in the previous session.
It had promulgated some ordinances again, including the triple talaq bill, amendment bills on Jammu and Kashmir reservation, Aadhaar laws, companies act and the Indian Medical Council Act.
Among the bills that will be introduced in this session, the one on triple talaq can be contentious for the government and the opposition.
The first two days of the session will be used for administering oath of office to all Lok Sabha MPs by Protem Speaker Virender Kumar. The speaker will be elected on June 19 and the next day the president will address a joint sitting of both Houses.
The budget will be introduced on July 5.
Addressing the media after the all-party meeting, Joshi said the prime minister 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".
An all-party meeting is a customary procedure before the beginning of every session of Parliament to ensure its smooth functioning.
Joshi said the government has requested all parties, especially the opposition, for their cooperation for the smooth functioning of both Houses of Parliament.
(With PTI inputs)