Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday hoped that Parliament's budget session beginning on Thursday would run smoothly even as the BJP demanded an end to the row over home minister Sushilkumar Shinde's "saffron terror" remark.
BJP to protest against Shinde's Hindu terror remark
"This session of Parliament is going to transact important financial business before the house and it is our sincere hope that we will have a productive, constructive debate leading to agreed solutions to the many national problems that our country faces," Manmohan Singh told reporters after an all-party meeting.
"I have said this before and I'll repeat it again. Parliament is the forum for discussions or dialogue and all parties have an obligation to ensure that parliament runs smoothly. I am hopeful and confident that this session is going to be a fruitful session," he said.
The Prime Minister also said that the country faces many "economical challenges".
"It is my sincere hope that all political parties will join hands to find productive, constructive solutions to the formidable challenges facing our nation," he said.
The all-party meet, called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, was aimed at the smooth functioning of Parliament.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced that it would disrupt proceedings and take on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over bribery allegations on the $750-million (Rs 3,600-crore) VVIP chopper deal.
The BJP also wants Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to apologise for his remarks on "saffron terror."
In the wake of BJP's protests over his Hindu terror remark, Shinde is likely to talk to senior party leader Sushma Swaraj to find a way out to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament during the Budget Session beginning on Thursday.
Sources said Shinde has conveyed to Swaraj, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, that he will talk to her to find a way out on the saffron terror issue to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.
"Both sides will make efforts to find a way out for the house to function," BJP veteran LK Advani said after the all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar ahead of the Budget Session.
The BJP on Wednesday staged a strong protest over Shinde's "saffron terror" remarks and said the comments were part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for votebank politics and demanded an apology.
BJP President Rajnath Singh questioned the Home Minister's intentions in making such a provocative statement.
"This comment of the home minister is part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for votebank politics," Singh said while addressing a large number of protesting party workers at Parliament Street in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Stepping up the attack on Shinde ahead of the Budget Session, Rajnath Singh questioned the home minister's intentions in making such a provocative statement.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the Congress was indulging in "communal polarisation" through such remarks.
"The Congress and UPA votebank is contracting. Shinde wants to divide the nation on the basis of religion. They are trying to indulge in communal polarisation. The home minister made this statement with the intention of dividing the nation for votes and seek the votebank of a particular religion,"
Jaitley said, addressing the protesting partymen.
Jaitley questioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on how they have allowed such a home minister, who is giving Pakistan a reason to say that India is running terror camps, to function.
Singh also questioned the intentions of Shinde to make such provocative comment and appealed to the countrymen "to understand the conspiracy behind making such a statement."
He accused the Congress of doing votebank politics and warned the government "not to play with the sentiments of people for the sake of votes."
"Don't think Indians as votes and votebanks," Singh said, adding that the Indian population will not allow such a thing.
Jaitley said the BJP has taken to the streets against Shinde for his remarks and unless he takes them back and make a public apology the party will not let him do politics.
Both Jaitley and Rajnath Singh dared the UPA to ban the BJP and RSS if they have any proof of the outfits running terror camps.
On government seeking support and cooperation of the Opposition during the difficult economic situation that the country is facing, Jaitley said, "How can you expect cooperation from those whom you charge of running terror camps. We will protest both outside and inside Parliament."
"Ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament, BJP is ready to take this fight to the streets. Take this wrong comment back and make a public apology, then only BJP will allow you to run politics," Jaitley said.
The protesting BJP leaders were detained by the police at Parliament Street Police station and let off after 10 minutes.