New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday appealed to the Opposition for smooth functioning of Parliament ahead of the Budget Session. In his address ahead of the session, Manmohan Singh said, "The people of the country want a constructive session of Parliament."
He also said that the government was ready for a dialogue in Parliament on all issues. "We wish to engage constructively, peacefully with all members in the parliament. There should be dialogue with all the members of Parliament," Manmohan Singh said.
The Prime Minister said that Parliament was meeting against the backdrop of global slowdown of economic activity which has also affected the country. "It is now a challenge for all of us to take credible action to ensure that we are least affected by this global slowdown. In this context, the way we conduct the financial business now before Parliament will be a crucial determinant of our country's ability to cope with the formidable challenges our country faces," Manmohan said.
The Budget Session will begin on Thursday with the Presidential address to the joint session, followed by the Rail and General Budget next week. A day ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament begins, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday issued a regret statement for his Hindu terror remark. Many are seeing this as a climbdown by the government and a victory of sorts for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The government is getting set to counter the Opposition's attack on many fronts.
"It's not in our hands, we want the political parties to be on our side. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister is dealing with them. The Prime Minister has said that we are ready for a discussion. Parliament is meant for discussion, there is no need for not allowing the House to run," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.
The government has listed around 71 bills to be introduced and passed in this Buget session. Some of the important bills include Bill of Sexual Violence against women, Bill on Land Acquisition, Food Security Bill, Lokpal Bill and Bill to make provision for quota in promotions for SC, ST.
There are some specific issues that are likely to be raised in the session. The Samajwadi Party is opposed to the Lokpal Bill and does not want quota in promotions bill being pushed by the BSP. The BSP will support the government if the quota bill is passed.
The BJP is set to raise the AgustaWestland chopper deal issue on February 22. The Left Front is also likely to attack the government over price rise, subsidy cut on diesel, LPG, FEMA amendment and chopper deal. Allegations against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien will also be an issue for the Left parties.
It now remains to be seen whether the government will be able to counter the Opposition's attack on other fronts after having ended the deadlock over Shinde's Hindu terror remark.
With Additional Inputs from PTI