Following row over quota, Modi to clarify govt. stand

November 26, 2015 02:38 am | Updated November 16, 2021 04:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s streak of “setting the record straight” that began during his trip to the United Kingdom this month, where he was queried on his last trip to the country, is likely to see a continuation in the winter session of Parliament.

Top sources in the government have told The Hindu that the Prime Minister will utilise the two-day special session to commemorate the contribution of the Constitution drafting committee chief B.R. Ambedkar to end the controversy over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s controversial remarks at an interview seeking a review of the reservation policy. The issue of intolerance may also be addressed.

“The debate on commemorating Ambedkar’s contributions to the making of the Constitution will be initiated by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the Lok Sabha and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha. The Prime Minister will intervene in the debate at some point,” the sources said.

Around 10-12 members of the Treasury Benches have been told to speak.

“The Opposition will raise the interview of Mr. Mohan Bhagwat and the reservation issue. There will be an emphatic response from us, and the Prime Minister will not only talk of the differences between Ambedkar and the Congress but will also stress that the BJP supports the current system of reservation,” said a senior leader of the party.

In an interview to the RSS mouthpiece Organiser , Mr. Bhagwat had said the current system of reservation required a review. The remarks created a controversy and, some say, had cost the BJP the Bihar Assembly poll. While clarifications had been made many times since, Union Minister V.K. Singh’s comments on the death of two Dalit children in Haryana had queered the pitch. Meanwhile, the Opposition has sent notice for a discussion on “intolerance” and for passage of a resolution to condemn it.

After a meeting of government floor managers on Wednesday morning, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government was prepared to “discuss anything” that the Opposition wanted. Sources in the government, however, said the wording of the resolution would be fiercely negotiated by the government. “We want to settle this debate… there is no question, but not on the terms of the Opposition,” said a senior Minister.

The government’s and the BJP’s stand on the debate on the “rising intolerance” was clarified yet again by party spokesperson M.J. Akbar. He accused actor Aamir Khan of having committed a “moral offence” by voicing concerns over the “atmosphere of intolerance” in the country. “It is unfortunate that for the sake of his name, he is defaming the entire country. I feel it is a moral offence,” Mr. Akbar said.

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