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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Budget session a fruitful outing, but RS a worry

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 16, 2014
First Published: 00:16 IST(16/8/2014) | Last Updated: 08:53 IST(16/8/2014)

The NDA government may pat itself on the back for conducting a smooth and productive budget session of Parliament. However, the Rajya Sabha continues to be a major cause of concern for BJP floor managers.

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Keeping that worry aside, the ruling side has so far successfully managed to get the support of political parties that are ideologically opposed to it on crucial issues. For instance, the Trai amendment bill got the backing of the Trinamool Congress as well as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a UPA constituent.

Read: India Inc impressed, gives a thumbs-up to Modi govt’s House management

Even on some other important legislation, including the judicial accountability and apprentices amendment bills, these parties did not create any problems for the government.

That left the Congress isolated — at least in the Lok Sabha. To prove a point, the NDA government sought to woo the AIADMK by giving it the deputy speaker’s post in the Lok Sabha.

Read: Some embarrassing moments meant it wasn’t a smooth sail

However, it continues to keep the Congress guessing on the Leader of the Opposition position.

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The conciliatory approach of the non-aligned regional parties during discussions on different matters also indicated that the BJP-led government, with an absolute majority, will have an easy run in the current Lok Sabha.

But that is not the case in the Rajya Sabha where the Opposition is in majority. To push its reform and legislative agenda, the government needs to take the Opposition on board.

Realising that its confrontationist approach with political opponents will only slow down its proposed key legislations and reform initiatives, the government appeared willing to accommodate some major suggestions of the Opposition, especially the Congress.

Read: Most opposition parties reluctant on sharing space with Congress

That is why it agreed to refer the landmark insurance bill to a select committee of Parliament and drop the veto clause in the judicial accountability legislation.

Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu summed it up by maintaining that the government is willing to walk the talk. He had a word of praise for the opponents too. “The Opposition deserves credit for effective functioning of Parliament,” Naidu said.

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