Parliament will discuss price rise on Thursday after Speaker Meira Kumar rejected notices for an adjournment motion on the issue, ending the two-day stalemate.
Left with little option, the BJP-led NDA was forced to backtrack and agree to a general discussion as opposed to an adjournment motion, which entails voting at the end of the debate.
The party did not want to be blamed for obstructing Parliament at a time when price rise needs to be discussed.
The decision to discuss the issue was taken at a meeting Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal had with leaders of the BJP, JD(U), RJD, Left and BSP on Wednesday.
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj will initiate the seven-hour debate, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will reply to it and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will intervene. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may also intervene as the issue has a bearing on the UPA’s image.
The Opposition will give two separate notices in both Houses to seek suspension of Question Hour and discuss price rise under Rule 193 that does not entail voting.
But today, the issue stalled Parliament again.
Singh came under attack in the Upper House where M. Venkaiah Naidu, Ramgopal Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, D. Raja, and others pitched for a substantive motion.
In the Lok Sabha, the Opposition’s effort to drive a wedge in the UPA fell flat when the Trinamool Congress supported a discussion under Rule 193.
The BJP was left red-faced when Deputy Leader of the Opposition Gopinath Munde stuck to his stand before mediapersons for a debate under an adjournment motion. BJP sources said he was not aware of the changed decision, and corrected his stand as soon as he came to know of it.
“Our work is done. We could make price rise the centre of national debate for two days,” said a BJP leader. “If we had insisted on an adjournment motion and stalled Parliament beyond a point, we would have been blamed. Having made a powerful point, we will now make things difficult for the government during the debate.”