The Monsoon session of Parliament for 2017 is all set to begin on Monday, July 17, and the Opposition parties have a number of issues in their kitty that they plan to raise in order to corner the BJP-led NDA government in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular.
The first day of the session will not see much business, because it has been reserved for the Presidential election, the counting for which will take place on July 20.
However, once that is out of the way, the Opposition will leave no stone unturned the paint the NDa government in poor colour. Here are seven issues — in no particular order — that they can be expected to raise in order to corner Modi and his regime:
1. Kashmir situation: The situation in Kashmir has shown no sign of marked improvement ever since unrest started last year following Indian Army personnel killing self-styled Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
The Congress will let no chance go to point out the rising number of civilian deaths in the state, which it will claim is due to misgovernance by the BJP at the Centre as well as in J&K. The saffron party is in power in both places, albeit as part of a coalition.
2. Sikkim standoff: India's standoff with China along the Sikkim border will be another issue the Opposition would like to rake up.
Although the Opposition parties have so far backed the government stance on the issue, they might look to drum up popular sentiment of an armed "solution" to the impasse.
3. Cow politics: Self-styled cow vigilantes who call them cow protectors beating up — and at times killing — people for transporting cattle or possessing beef have been asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself to refrain from such actions.
However, such beatings and subsequent deaths continue to take place. Now, in a meeting before the beginning of the Monsoon session, Modi has promised strict action against such cow vigilantes. But that will definitely not stop the Opposition from needling the prime minister and the saffron party on it.
4. Job creation: When the Modi regime celebrated three years in power, the Opposition parties raked up the lack of job creation as one of the biggest failures of the government.
That, coupled with the continued layoffs in the IT sector, will give the Opposition parties quite a bit of ammunition to fire at the Central government.
5. GST problems: The rollout of the new Goods and Services Tax may have been welcomed by all, but that will not stop the Opposition parties from highlighting what they perceive was a hasty rollout of the new tax regime.
6. Aadhaar leaks: With Aadhaar being ordered to be linked to almost every aspect of an Indian's life, the leak of Aadhaar data from various sources is a source of concern, and that is something the Opposition would love to highlight in Parliament.
7. Farmer issues: This could be the ace up the sleeve for the Congress, which will claim the BJP is anti-poor and anti-farmer, citing example of the police firing in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh that killed five protesting farmers. The Opposition will also likely rake up the issue of delayed announcement of farm loan waivers in BJP-ruled states.