The first round in the expected parliamentary face-off on price rise seems to have gone to the Opposition.
The government on Sunday appeared ready to give in to the BJP and Left’s demand for a discussion on rising prices on February 23 to prevent them and other non-Congress parties, including some UPA members, from disrupting proceedings on the issue.
“Our attitude will be accommodative,'” said P K Bansal, parliamentary affairs minister, on the eve of the budget session that opens on Monday with the President’s address.
The first “round”, expected on Tuesday, will be on the contours of the price-rise debate. The government will want it under Rule 193 that does not entail voting, while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance will want a headcount and give notice for an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha.
Communist Party of India’s Gurudas Dasgupta, too, has warned of a similar notice, if the government doesn't agree to an early debate.
“On February 23, NDA will bring an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha and demand suspension of the question hour in the Rajya Sabha on the issue of price rise,” said S S Ahluwalia, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member and deputy leader.
The move is aimed at cornering the government and also expose fissures in the ruling coalition on the issue. The UPA members like the Trinamool Congress and DMK have joined the Opposition in demanding an immediate discussion.
If the House functions on Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will have a lot of answering to do — 11 of the 20 question hour queries are about sugar prices, price rise and agricultural production.