Meets Gadkari over lunch to discuss contentious issues

Leader of the House and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has been busy inviting Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to lunches and teas to discuss contentious issues that are bound to arise during the winter session of Parliament that opened on Tuesday.

On Monday, he had BJP president Nitin Gadkari in his residence for lunch and sought the Opposition party's views on the stalled economic reforms, among other issues.

The rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax was among the issues discussed. It seems Mr. Gadkari told Mr. Mukherjee that his party was not opposed to it in principle, but had issues relating to the States where it was in power.

And a couple of days earlier, Mr. Mukherjee had a long discussion over tea with the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

The Opposition and the government do not agree on many issues.

A headache for the government is the BJP's decision to “boycott” Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, which it sees as “unfair.” The BJP, however, is determined to raise decibel levels in the House whenever Mr. Chidambaram gets up to speak. “But this does not mean we will stall Parliament. There are many important issues we want discussed and expect answers from the ruling dispensation,” a senior BJP leader later said.

The BJP's refrain is: Mr. Chidambaram is as guilty as the former Telecom Minister, A Raja, and it will “boycott” him till he quits the Cabinet.

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