New Delhi: The government has bought some peace for now to enable it to take up urgent financial business in the Lok Sabha in this budget session.
“Some MPs were agitated about the women's Bill. We talked to them, or rather, Pranab Mukherjee [Leader of the House] met them and assured them that they would be consulted before the Bill is taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told journalists on Thursday.
Throughout the day, Congress managers met leaders of the alliance parties. An attempt was made to explain some issues to Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, hoping to bring her party around to supporting the Bill.
The Pranab Mukherjee meeting was attended by the Yadav troika opposing the Bill vociferously — Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav — as well as United Progressive Alliance constituents Ms. Banerjee, Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party) and T.R. Baalu (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam). The government made it clear that all concerned would be consulted. A statement to this effect was also made in the Lok Sabha, both by Mr. Mukherjee and Mr. Bansal, after which the House ran smoothly.
It could mean an all-party meeting or it could be consultations with some parties or individual party leaders, Mr. Bansal said. A time and date for those consultations had not yet been set.
Mr. Bansal decried the Opposition propaganda that the Congress wanted disturbances in the House so that it could get the budget adopted through a voice vote through din and noise. What happened on Thursday had disproved those allegations. “We have always maintained that we want a thorough discussion of all issues in Parliament,” he said.
He rubbished the BJP charge that the Congress was trying to sow seeds of discord in the BJP over the women's Bill.