Middle ground: Health Secretary to brief Opposition leaders on Covid, PM to attend

The Opposition had earlier rejected an offer by the government that the PM address floor leaders in the Parliament annexe.

The Union Health Secretary will address floor leaders of political parties over Covid-19 management and strategy on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi present, Trinamool MP Derek O’ Brien said here, calling it a victory of “constructive opposition”.

The Opposition had earlier rejected an offer by the government that the PM address floor leaders in the Parliament annexe. O’ Brien among other leaders had said that any address by the PM while the House was in session should be in Parliament, calling the government’s proposal highly irregular, during an all-party meeting Sunday.

Sources said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan would address the leaders at 6 pm, and also give presentations on the pandemic and how it was managed.

Tweeting about the new plan, O’ Brien said, “#Parliament. Constructive Opposition prevails. At all-party meet Parliamentary Affairs Minister announced ‘PM would make presentation on #COVID19 in a conference room’. We insisted any statement by PM must be inside Parliament. Now been informed HEALTH SECRETARY TO ADDRESS MEET in august presence of PM.”

O’ Brien said the TMC wanted to hear the PM in Parliament, as the House is “supreme”.

CPM leader Elamaram Kareem urged that the presentation by the Health Secretary be in front of all MPs and not just the floor leaders. He has written to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi seeking the same.

“My party is of the view that members representing different political parties in Parliament should get an opportunity to participate in the discussion and express their views and get necessary clarifications from the government,” Kareem said.

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