Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and minister for parliamentary affairs Pawan Bansal met top BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Yashwant Sinha on Friday. In the meeting Mukherjee is said to have urged for the Opposition’s cooperation in running of Parliament, to pass pending legislations. The opposition party is believed to have assured the government that routine legislative business would proceed unhindered.
The meeting assumed significance as it came at a time when the PM is expected to give a statement on sports minister Ajay Maken’s saying the NDA was responsible for Suresh Kalmadi’s appointment as Organising Committee chairman. The BJP is insisting that the government should not pass the “blame” and own up. However, a senior BJP leader said there was no discussion of Commonwealth Games-related issues.
A BJP leader present at the meeting later told HT, “We are in favour of parliamentary business being conducted and non-controversial legislation being smoothly passed. It is only in the case of controversial legislation that we can have issues.”
The Parliament has been held up intermittently due to the BJP’s issues with the UPA rule, including inflation and recent lathicharge on BJP youth wing workers, but has got back to functioning again.
BJP leaders believe that constant disruption, a strategy they have employed in the past, is counterproductive, taking the blame for the Parliament not functioning. They would like it to function normally to be seen as a responsible, though vigilant, opposition, they said.
Arun Jaitley is believed to have cautioned Mukherjee on the state of the economy, and also pointed that more Indians are investing abroad than the country attracting FDI. The BJP believes this shows India is not seen as a favourable investment destination. Mukherjee is believed to have assured the BJP that the government was taking a serious look at the situation.