Government on Sunday made a vigorous bid to seek Opposition's cooperation as it faces a torrid Budget session of Parliament starting Monday but rival parties appeared to be in no mood to relent on some thorny issues like the controversial land ordinance.
At a meeting of political parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for cooperation for the benefit of common man while parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government is willing to walk the "extra mile" to accommodate opposition's cocnerns.
Modi made a strong plea for ensuring smooth functioning of Parliament as the Budget session is very crucial and people look at it with lots of hopes and aspirations. The Budget session lasts till March 20 and the Parliament will reconvene on April 20 and the session is due to conclude on May 8. The leaders of all political parties should collectively ensure proper utilisation of time in both Houses of Parliament "so that we can work towards meeting the hopes and aspirations of people", he said about the session during which his nine-month old government will present its first full-fledged Budget on February 28.
"It is the collective responsibility of leaders of all parties to ensure that this session runs smoothly so that the House can fulfill aspiratations of people...Hope we can collectively work for the benefit of common man," Modi said. Referring to the various issues that opposition is waiting to raise, he told the leaders attending the meeting, "I can assure you that all the issues you have referred to will be discussed adequately and appropriately in order of their priority and importance."
Earlier, the tone for the conciliatory approach was set when Naidu, in an unusual gesture, drove to Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence to meet her to seek cooperation of the largest opposition party in carrying out the legislative business. "The government is willing to walk the extra mile to accommodate the opposition. My only appeal is that House should be allowed to function smoothly," Naidu said later. However, the opposition parties appeared to be unimpressed and made clear their mood to take on the government, particularly on the move to amend the Land Acquisition Act.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Congress will not support those Ordinances and bills, which "do not help people". JD-U President Sharad Yadav said it will be a "fight to the finish" as he lashed out at the government, saying it had made the land law worse than what existed during the British time.
Naidu admitted that some opposition parties expressed reservations against the land ordinance move even as there was "broad consensus" on five other Ordinances to be converted into Acts. While describing his meeting Gandhi as a "cordial" one, Naidu said she expressed concerns over Land Ordinance. Naidu acknowledged that land acquisition is an "emotive issue" and needs to be addressed "sincerely without undue politicisation". Significantly, Naidu, unlike earlier, evaded direct reply to questions about the possibility of convening a joint session to pass the bills in the face of the non-cooperation of the Opposition. The meeting saw the leaders seeking debate on a variety of issues including the communal statements by some members of BJP and Sangh Parivar, attack on churches, swine flu situation, agrarian crisis, Indo-Pak border situation, minimum support price for farm produce.