Deviating from convention, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) has decided to convene the monsoon session of Parliament on August 1, to be concluded on September 8, triggering strong protests from the BJP and the Left parties.The Opposition alleged that the government was trying to run away from discussions. Usually, the month-long monsoon session begins around the third week of July.Apart from the Lokpal Bill, the government is also contemplating to bring the controversial women’s reservation Bill in the ensuing session in its bid to divide the Opposition and divert attention from the Lokpal Bill.Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened an allparty meeting on Wednesday to discuss the women’s quota Bill. Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the party wants the Bill cleared in the monsoon session itself.Refuting the BJP-CPM charge that the government had deliberately delayed the session, parliamentary affairs minister P.K. Bansal said there have been instances of the session being called in August.Some Congress leaders, trying to justify the delay in the monsoon session, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may go in for a cabinet reshuffle in the first week of July and the new ministers would need time to familiarise themselves with their portfolios.However, the BJP and the CPM slammed the move.Describing the decision as “shocking”, the BJP – led by veteran leader L.K. Advani – requested the President to call an early session “because there are pressing issues that Parliament needs to discuss. Instead of heeding that advice, the government has postponed the session,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.advertisementThe convention is broken only in “extreme” situations, he said. “You alter the timings of Parliament sessions only when there is a war or natural calamity or elections. Of course, if there is an undeclared Emergency, the ruling party can do anything it likes,” he said sarcastically.CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the government’s decision was “most regrettable and unfortunate”.He said, “The budget session was also curtailed. We have been demanding that Parliament should be in session at least 100 days a year. This is the lowest in parliament democracy anywhere in the world. But this government, instead of even holding session for 100 days, is curbing it further.”Congress sources, however, said there was no hidden agenda behind the decision.”In the wake of Gandhian Anna Hazare’s threat that he would resort to fasting again from August 15 if the Lokpal Bill is not passed by then, the government’s first priority is to bring the anti-graft legislation to Parliament,” the sources said, adding that the government needed time to prepare the Bill.The draft report may be ready by the end of this month and an all-party meeting will be called in the first week of July to discuss it.The ministries concerned would then work on the draft Bill, which has to be approved by the cabinet.This process itself would take about a month, a senior Congress leader said.At the same time, sources in the party said the government wanted to counter the threat of Anna Hazare beginning the August 15 fast.”Once the Bill is tabled in Parliament, the government has no more any role to play. It is up to the political parties then to discuss it threadbare and either pass it or send it to the standing committee,” the sources said.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.