Opposition snubs govt’s bid to reach out

Budget session * BJP to move amendments to President’s speech

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 13, 2012 3:35:59 am

Even as the UPA leadership reached out to the Opposition in its bid to ensure a smooth Budget Session,the BJP demanded the government’s reply on the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The party also plans to move amendments to the President’s address.

A meeting convened by Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee on Monday evening with L K Advani,Sushma Swaraj,Arun Jaitley and Yashwant Sinha turned out to be an exercise in formality,with the BJP leaders making it clear that they would not oblige.

The only comfort for the government was an assurance of sorts that a couple of legislations,which need to be passed as they are linked to international commitments but are pending in standing committees headed by BJP leaders,would be expedited. Two of these Bills,relating to narcotics and money laundering,are pending with the standing committee on finance headed by Sinha,while another on unlawful activities Act is pending with standing committee on home headed by BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu.

BJP leaders indicated that stormy proceedings can be expected in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday during the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address,saying they would raise objections to several parts of the speech,including those relating to NCTC,Sri Lankan Tamils,failure to revive the economy and price rise. MPs,mostly from the Opposition,flooded the Lok Sabha table office in the evening with notices seeking to move amendments to the President’s speech.

In the RS too,the government may find the going tough with the BJP firm on demanding a reply on the debate on Lokpal Bill that had abruptly ended on December 29 last year. “The reason the government gave then was that it wanted more time to go through amendments moved by members. By now,it has had enough time,” said Jaitley,adding that his party will demand that the Lokpal Bill debate be taken up as the first business on Tuesday.

BJP Deputy leader S S Ahluwalia said smooth conduct of the RS may not be possible if the government did not relent on this demand.

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