Pranab soothes oppn, house deadlock ends
The week-long deadlock in Parliament over the modality and rule under which price rise should be discussed was broken on Monday, with both sides agreeing to a mutually acceptable draft statement that will be adopted by the two Houses after a debate on the issue that does not entail voting.delhi Updated: Aug 03, 2010 01:24 IST
The week-long deadlock in Parliament over the modality and rule under which price rise should be discussed was broken on Monday, with both sides agreeing to a mutually acceptable draft statement that will be adopted by the two Houses after a debate on the issue that does not entail voting.
The deal—which set the stage for resumption of normal business in the two Houses—was brokered over a breakfast meeting leader of the house Pranab Mukherjee had with leaders of parliamentary parties.
The BJP agreed to drop its demand for a debate under rule 184 that involves voting. And the government, in turn, agreed to have a resolution expressing the concern of the House on the issue. Lok Sabha will discuss the issue on Tuesday; Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
By the end of the meeting, questions were raised about why the BJP raised its demanded on the issue in a particular format and why the two couldn’t have reached a compromise earlier.
The Congress’ approach was also spelt out by President Sonia Gandhi in the party organ Congress Sandesh, where, while noting that price rise is ‘never pleasant’, she urged her workers to tell people why the fuel hike was necessary and emphasise it had been kept to a minimum.
Unlike the NDA which changed diesel and petrol prices 31 and 28 times in five years, the UPA did it just nine times in six years.
The government’s own move is seen as unusual as it appears to be almost self critical as, unless there is a last minute change, the post-debate statement would reportedly state: “This House expresses its concern on the inflationary pressure in the economy and calls upon the government to take further action in order to contain its adverse impact on the common people.’’
“What could we do? We had to get Parliament to function. Besides we cannot afford to be insensitive on an issue like price rise,’’ explained a Congress leader later.
“Expressing concern is not an indictment. Prices have been coming down. We are confident that in days and weeks to come the government’s steps will impact prices and bring them down. This is a joint effort by the Central and state governments and all should cooperate particularly in taking action against hoarders and blackmarketeers,’’ said Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan to queries.
This is the first time that the two Houses will be adopting a resolution on inflation. Previous resolutions had dealt with issues like demanding Pakistan vacate PoK (1994) or deploring the military action in Iraq (2003).
Sources said that before reaching an agreement, the BJP and the government differed on the wording of the draft.
The BJP insisted that it include “price rise’’ and its impact on the “common man’’ — which the government rejected as it struck at its electoral slogan.
Instead it agreed to include the phrase “inflationary pressure’’ — which it can attribute to factors like the global scenario, climate or role of state governments —and “people,’’ a generic term.
It also agreed to incorporate in the text “further action’’ to contain the “adverse impact’’ of inflationary pressure.