With the Bihar assembly poll verdict turning out to be another shock after the Iraq oil-for-food scam, the Congress-led coalition's cup of woes today appeared full. Facing it is a charged-up National Democratic Alliance in the winter session of Parliament beginning tomorrow.
The poll outcome will certainly have its echo in the two Houses of Parliament. Though the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition is confident the outcome would not impact its stability, the poll verdict is likely to cause embarrassment to it.
Complete coverage: Bihar votes
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA, for which the poll result came as a shot in the arm, has already threatened to go on the offensive over the Supreme Court finding "unconstitutional" the Bihar assembly's dissolution in February.
The apex court's order had come as an embarassment to the UPA and came as a boost for the NDA in the Bihar poll campaign. The alliance claimed vindication of its stand that its efforts to form a government after the February poll had been foiled through "unconstitutional" means.
Though the session is expected to be stormy with the UPA facing a determined Opposition over the Volcker committee report on Iraqi oil payoffs and its Left allies voicing reservations over the government's stand on the Iran nuclear issue, the first week is unlikely to witness any ruckus.
Volcker report: The Indian link
Trouble is expected from next week on and a measure of the NDA's strategy could be had tomorrow when its leaders meet to discuss various issues, including the Volcker report on oil-for-food scam in which former external affairs minister K Natwar Singh and the Congress have been named as beneficiaries.
Strident demands have been made by the Opposition for the resignation of Natwar Singh, who is now a minister without portfolio, and Sonia Gandhi as chairperson of the National Advisory Committee.
The session is also likely to see attacks on Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Bihar Governor Buta Singh for the naxalite attack on Jehanabad jail, as well as the stepped-up terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir and the Diwali-eve serial bomb blasts in Delhi.
The BJP is expected to go ballistic over the Mitrokhin archives papers that allege financial links between their leaders and the former Soviet external intelligencey agency, the KGB.
The Left parties, key outside supporters of the UPA, are disturbed over the way the government has acted on the Iran nuclear programme issue and would seek an explanation in Parliament on why it supported a US-sponsored resolution agaist Teheran at the September meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
They have said their future stand vis-a-vis the coalition would depend upon what position the government takes at the
next IAEA meet on November 24.
The Left parties would also make a strong demand for introduction of the Women's Reservation Bill and the Scheduled
Tribes Forest Rights Bill in the upcoming session, besides raising the problems facing farmers, unemployment and a
hike in prices of essential commodities.
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has already held consultations with the Opposition and treasury benches in
order to ensure that the session is a smooth affair.