Other issues that the Opposition wants to raise include Maoist violence, terrorism, fertilizer pricing and the report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Trinamool Congress — key allies of the Congress in the United Progressive Alliance — on Saturday joined the Opposition in demanding a full-fledged discussion on price rise in the upcoming Budget Session of Parliament.
The only difference was that the Opposition insisted on price rise getting precedence over all other issues in the Lok Sabha and has warned that proceedings could well be disrupted if the government did not yield on this count. The Opposition wants the discussion to be scheduled for Tuesday; the first day of proper business after the session opens on Monday with the President’s Address.
The demand was made by the Opposition at an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to ensure smooth functioning of the House in the Budget session. According to Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, the onus of ensuring proper functioning of the House now rests on the government.
“The entire Opposition agreed that there should be an immediate discussion on price rise on February 23, the first working day. If the government agrees to this, there will not be any disruption and we can have a proper discussion,” Ms. Swaraj said. She added that the Opposition could move an adjournment motion if the government did not agree to a discussion on prices on February 23. However, a decision on this would be taken at the meeting of the National Democratic Alliance slated for Sunday.
Reacting to the demands for discussion on price rise and the Bharatiya Janata Party pressing for clarifications on the government’s move to hold Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said “the government was willing to discuss all issues in Parliament.”
Giving details of what transpired at the meeting, Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the Left parties wanted discussions on the impact of economic reforms on the working class. On the price rise issue, the Left parties would demand to know why only the prices of essential commodities were rising where as that of luxury items remained static.
The BJP, on its part, also wants a discussion on the India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary-level talks on February 25 — the very day they are scheduled to take place.
Other issues that the Opposition wants to raise include Maoist violence, terrorism, fertilizer pricing and the report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities.
While the DMK wants the government to put in place a comprehensive mechanism to check spiralling prices, the Trinamool Congress is insistent on Parliament discussing political violence in West Bengal.