For the first time in two years the winter session of Parliament showed the UPA government's success in getting key economic reforms bill approved in Parliament and also showcased its willingness to take the Opposition on board on important legislative matters.
Government's will is visible in the way it has decided to push for important legislative business to be taken up on Thursday —the day poll results for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat would be announced. So far, the Parliament has not met on days when election results for important states are to be declared.
In fact, the Business Advisory Committee of Rajya Sabha had decided to adjourn the upper House sine die on Wednesday, but finance minister P Chidambaram forced a U-turn, saying key economic bills needed to be passed.
What helped the government was the opposition parties, especially BJP, willingness to back it on key economic reforms — after the bills were tweaked.
In the lower house, government has listed another key reform bill — the Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment bill — for passage on Thursday. It would also push for the constitutional amendment bill for providing reservation in promotions for scheduled caste and tribes in government jobs, despite stiff opposition by its ally Samajwadi Party.
An unusual inertia had hit the UPA-2 government after a series of scams rocked it and there was a feeling that leadership was not willing to take any political risks. The winter session taking place after a major Cabinet reshuffle has shown a reversal in trend with the government willing to talk with the Opposition on reform bills.
The government after initial reluctance agreed to voting on FDI in multi-brand retail and got the Parliament's stamp of approval despite not having adequate number in Rajya Sabha. And, the industry reacted positively with a reasonable jump in Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex.
For the first time in two years, the government was able to get the Banking Law amendments and Companies bill passed in Lok Sabha. It was not without an unusual initiative taken by parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath to clarify the doubts of Left parties, which have been opposing the two bills. After the bill, the Left agreed.