Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets members of the press at the international media center after the closing of the G20 Summit at the ITPO Convention Centre Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, India, 10 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/RAJAT GUPTA

Indian political parties gather to discuss agenda of surprise session of parliament

New Delhi, Sep 17 (EFE).- Leaders of Indian political parties met on Sunday to discuss the main topics on the agenda for a mysterious special session of the parliament set to begin a day later.

Presided over by Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh, heads of Indian political parties represented in the parliament gathered to discuss the agenda for the upcoming week.

The objectives of the session – announced out of the blue by the government earlier this month – had been kept under wraps so far, triggering criticism and suspicion among the opposition.

Although the government released the provisional agenda of the special session on Thursday, there were doubts among some of the attendees in Sunday’s meeting that it does not include all the issues that are going to be tabled.

“There is something that is being concealed. I want to know that,” Tiruchi Silva, a lawmaker of opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, told local news agency ANI.

Similarly, another lawmaker K Mani – from the Kerala Congress party – also claimed that the government has not been transparent with its agenda.

The most widespread speculation over the special session’s agenda was linked to the possibility that the government may change the country’s official name to “Bharat,” instead of India.

The controversy began last week after an official dinner invitation for the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi went viral.

“The President of Bharat requests the pleasure of the company of (…),” read the invitation in English, referring to President Droupadi Murmu.

Another official document confirmed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the ASEAN-India summit in Indonesia, while referring to the leader as the “Prime Minister of Bharat.”

During the G20 summit on Sep. 9-10, Modi also used the term Bharat instead of India during the plenary session.

Bharat, a word often traced back to Hindu religious texts, has already been used to refer to India in Hindi and as an alternative term. The Indian constitution uses it in its first article, interchangeably with the term India.

The opposition has alleged that the government has taken the step to counter the popularity of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance – abbreviated as I.N.D.I.A. – a coalition formed by 26 parties to challenge the BJP-led government in the 2024 general elections. EFE