Updated: July 14, 2021 7:36:41 am
With six days to go for Parliament’s Monsoon Session, both ruling BJP and main opposition Congress are fine-tuning their strategies for the House.
While the Congress on Tuesday announced that it would try to corner the government on the issue of price-rise, senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers, met at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence to discuss strategies for the session, which is expected to be rocky after the second wave of Covid-19 and poor performance of the ruling party in the March-April Assembly polls.
BJP president J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah were present at the meeting. Singh heads the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. Union ministers Pralhad Joshi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Bhupender Yadav and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and ministers of state Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan, among others, were also present.
“Around 20 party leaders attended the meeting and discussed issues likely to come up in the session, (decide) the government’s defence to the Opposition’s attack,” a source who attended the meeting said. “The meeting was entirely for strategising,” said another source.
A source said, “The government is prepared to respond to all issues. The pandemic has been a global issue and we were not the only country that faced the crisis. The government has done everything possible and continues to take adequate measures.” This, the source added, would be the “line” the treasury benches would take.
Meanwhile, arguing that inflation has been triggered by the government’s “wrong policies” and “its inept management of the economy”, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said leaders of various opposition parties will meet later this week and formulate a joint strategy.
Addressing the media, Chidambaram asked the Centre to substantially reduce prices of petrol, diesel and LPG and demanded that import duties be reviewed and reset “so that prices of essential imported goods are cheaper”. He also said GST rates should be reduced on goods of mass consumption.
“A government concerned about the welfare of the people and their hardships and burdens will not turn the other way when every household is agitated about rising prices,” Chidambaram said. “The government has continued to pretend that the concern about price-rise is a false concern.” Arguing that the pandemic caused job losses and wage cuts for millions, he said, “In such a situation of widespread distress, inflation has broken the back of the people, and we hold the Centre directly responsible for the high inflation.”
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