With regional parties, including ally Trinamool Congress, gearing up for a ‘federal front’ and the Opposition aiming to corner the Congress after the assembly polls, the UPA government is bracing for a stormy budget session of Parliament starting Monday.
The poll results, especially from Uttar Pradesh, not only crashed the UPA’s plans to push for economic reforms but may also force the government to adopt a non-confrontationist approach, for some time.The session will run till May 22 but there will be a break from March 31 to April 23.
Major reforms initiatives such as the Pension Fund Bill or Insurance Act (Amendment) Bill are expected to remain in cold storage for a while longer.
FDI in multi-brand retail, that doesn’t require Parliament’s nod, may not be rolled out as the government’s allies have opposed it.
“We are expecting the emergence of a federal front during this session. Regional parties like the BJD, Trinamool, AIADMK, JD(U) that are running governments in respective states want to protect the federal structure. There is a deliberate attempt by the Congress to intrude into the states’ domains,” said BJD chief whip in the Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab.
Last week, at a meeting between finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, the principal opposition party reportedly offered no support for the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) or FDI in multi-brand retail.
While the BJP described its earlier support for formation of the National Investigation Agency as a "big mistake", it warned against any further attempt to hurt the federal structure.
"There will be floor coordination between all opposition parties on issues like the agrarian crisis, price rise of fertilisers and some bills," CPI(M) leader in the Rajya Sabha Mainul Hassan said.
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has already asked her MPs to raise the pitch against the Congress during the session over the lack of financial help for West Bengal. The government's prime target would be to pass the general and railway budgets with as little resistance as possible.