With the government set to push for the passage of the contentious citizenship and triple talaq bills in Parliament's budget session, the Opposition Thursday made it clear that it will not allow so and asked the ruling dispensation to take up only "non-controversial" legislations.
In an all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put to rest speculation about the likelihood of the government presenting a full budget, saying only an interim budget will be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters. In a separate discussion with key members of the ruling BJP and its allies, Modi asked them to present the government's achievements and views emphatically in and outside Parliament, a leader, who attended the meeting, said.
Apparently referring to opposition parties, Modi said lies were being spread outside against the government and they should be exposed, the leader added.An official statement quoting the prime minister's remarks at the all-party meeting said, "The government's focus is on issues of national importance and finding solutions to problems of the people. The country expects from all of us to perform our duties as parliamentarians in a positive manner and we must deliver to people's expectations." Azad said the government should take up only those bills for passage on which there is a consensus among all parties.
It will be difficult for Parliament to function if the government pushes controversial bills, he said.He was apparently referring to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities from come neighbouring countries, and the triple talaq bill, which envisages imprisonment for Muslim men accused of instance divorce.Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien echoed similar views and also accused the government of misusing investigation agencies like the CBI to settle political scores.
The government had found an ally in the CBI before the Lok Sabha elections, he told reporters.Azad added that opposition parties will raise the issues of unemployment, price rise, agrarian distress and woman safety in the session, which ends on February 13.Sources said BJP ally and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan in the ruling National Democratic Alliance meeting spoke about concerns over the citizenship bill.The NDA huddle followed a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party executive.
The JD(U), another ally of the saffron party, has already announced its opposition to the bill.Responding to the Opposition's views, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said a decision on the bills will be taken upin the meetings of the business advisory committees of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha."The session is short and has a heavy agenda. As it is, the debates on the interim budget and motion of thanks to the President's address will be long. If the Opposition keeps in mind the time constraint, then we can have discussions on important issues," he said.
Modi also assured leaders in the all-party meeting that the issues raised by them would be taken into consideration by the government and given due importance, the official statement said."There was a consensus across party lines on ensuring smooth functioning of Parliament without disruptions and deadlocks to be resolved through constructive discussions in both the Houses," it said.The session will have 10 sittings spread over a period of 14 days.As many as 46 bills have been listed by the government for discussion and passage in the session, which will be the last during the term of this government.