'Don’t shy off debates with Opposition'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 26, 2014 23:33 IST

In what would mark a sharp contrast from the approach of the previous regimes that sought to avoid debates on contentious issues in Parliament leading to prolonged logjams, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed the ruling party’s floor managers to accept all reasonable demands for discussions that the Opposition wants.

The Prime Minister would rather have the floor managers focus on transacting legislative business.

On Wednesday, the government allowed in both Houses of Parliament a debate on black money and even allowed Congress to initiate the debate when its leader sought to do so. In the coming week, the government intends to allow a debate on other issues that the Opposition has sought.

This, government’s floor managers say, has also been instructed by the PM.

“The PM has told us to allow debates that the Opposition wants. He wants the government to adequately reply to debates on topics like J&K floods and relief and rehabilitation after cyclones.

“This may leave the Opposition with little reasons to block legislative agenda of the government,” a senior Cabinet minister said.

This strategy of the NDA is in sharp contrast of its predecessor, the
UPA, which faced flak for trying to block debates in Parliament. UPA’s days in power had seen it at loggerheads with the BJP and others for not adequately addressing the issues flagged by Opposition.

Crucial hours of many sessions were washed out following Congress’ reluctance to discuss issues like scandalous allotment of 2G spectrums, irregularities in preparation for CWG games, arbitrary allocation of coal blocks and many more.

This eventually led to a situation where several crucial bills of the government were stalled by a united Opposition, which also led to a policy paralysis.

The ruling NDA is hopeful that its strategy may smooth out the rough edges before it set out on rather difficult course of getting the insurance bill passed and introduction the constitution amendment bill to roll out the GST.

“We also plan to bring in the current session another bill to amend the land acquisition act,” the minister said.

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