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Rediff.com  » News » Oppn set to take on PM as Budget session starts

Oppn set to take on PM as Budget session starts

Last updated on: February 21, 2011 09:46 IST

Alas! Consensus on 2G JPC; Budget session saved

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Putting aside its winter fiasco, Parliament's budget session kicked off on Monday.

The government on Sunday told the Opposition that an announcement on the constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the 2G spectrum will be made on Tuesday.

Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee gave the assurance to opposition leaders at a meeting convened by the Speaker Meira Kumar that the government will make the announcement in the House on JPC on Tuesday when actual proceedings of the budget session start.

On Monday, the session got a formal start with the President's address to the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed the hope that the budget session would be "fruitful and productive".

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The General Budget for 2011/12 will be presented on February 28 while the Railway budget on February 25. The pre-budget Economic Survey will also be tabled on February 25.

Officially there was no word from the government on its plans on conceding to the JPC demand over which the entire winter session was washed out but opposition leaders coming out of the meeting disclosed the government's intention.

They said in keeping with Parliamentary norms that a formal statement should be made in the House, the government was reticent about making it public.

One Opposition leader, who attended the meeting, said that while giving the assurance Mukherjee told them not to speak about it.



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CPI Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta told the media "why you want me to break the niceties? The government has agreed on the JPC. It has come in the media".

During the meeting, the Opposition leaders made it clear that Parliament would not function if there was no announcement by the government on the JPC on Tuesday.

After the two month long deadlock, indications had emerged from the government a fortnight ago that it was ready to blink with Mukherjee telling Opposition leaders that no price was dearer than Parliament's functioning.

Scenting success, the BJP sought to widen the ambit of the JPC by seeking probe into other scams like CWG and Adarsh Housing. But on Sunday the party's Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde said after the meeting that the JPC would be on 2G and his party would seek discussion on other scams.



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The Prime Minister, who joined the leaders over lunch at the Parliament complex on Sunday, hoped that the budget session will be a "peaceful and productive session".

"We are looking forward to a fruitful and productive session. The government on its part is ready to discuss any issue, which may be brought by the opposition. So I am hopeful that this will be a peaceful and productive session", he said.

"I am always satisfied, I am always optimistic," Dr Singh said when asked whether he was satisfied over the outcome of Sunday's meeting.

The Prime Minister said that a lot of legislative works have to be accomplished, the budget of the central government has to be passed and this, therefore, is the most important session of Parliament.



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Alas! Consensus on 2G JPC; Budget session saved

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Munde also said that his party was seeking to impress upon the government that the JPC should have more than 30 members so that smaller parties could also get representation in it.

Asked whether the government an announcement about JPC on Tuesday, Speaker Meira Kumar said she was "fully hopeful and confident" that the session would be a smooth affair.

Dasgupta said that the government should explain the measures it planned to take to combat "economic terrorism" given the fact that for the first time a minister had been arrested by his own government and sent to Tihar Jail.

He said that the government should spell out the mechanism in this regard as the JPC would not be able to deal with the overall issue.



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Opposition leaders also said that they would be raising a variety of issues including price rise, Centre-States relations, communal violence and unemployment.

Before the formal announcement about the JPC probe, the talk in political circles has turned to the nitty-gritty of the JPC.

There have been issues galore for the opposition ranging from the S-Band deal being dubbed by them as a mega scam to the controversy over the appointment of P J Thomas as CVC.

The failure of the naxalite strategy as seen from the abduction of a collector in Orissa, the situation in J and K as also the new revelation as regards investigations into the Samjhauta blast and the Malegaon blast are also likely to be raised by parties like Samajwadi Party.


Image: CVC P J Thomas

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BJP as well as Left party members are expected to raise the issues of price rise, black money and petrol prices. The issue of Tiranga yatra is also likely to be raised by BJP.

As many as 32 bills, including the controversial Communal Violence Bill, Press and Registration of Books and Publications Bill and the Land Acquisition (Amendment) bill will be introduced during the session.

The Press and Registration of Books and Publications bill has been dubbed as 'draconian' by the Indian Newspaper Society, a body of newspaper owners, which alleged that the measure has been brought without consulting it.

Trinamool Congress, which is a key component of UPA, has reservations about the Land Acquisition (amendment) bill as land acquisition is a ticklish issue in Assembly poll-bound West Bengal.

The bill seeks to amend the land acquisition Act whose provisions have sparked controversy. It is being brought along with the Rehabilitation and Resettlement bill.



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