The contentious bills relating to broadcasting, women's reservation, prevention of communal violence and creation of Telangana state are not on the government's radar during the Budget session of Parliament opening on Monday.
In the run up to the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, the UPA is likely to keep the focus on the
in the Railway and General Budgets while the Opposition and even the Left parties, would go after the ruling party on a wide range of issues. Already, the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) has threatened to quit the Lok Sabha if the process of setting up Telangana is not initiated by March 6.
The session will see President Pratibha Patil becoming the first woman President to address a joint sitting of MPs of both Houses on Monday. The Railway Budget will be presented on Tuesday, the Economic Survey on Thursday and the Union Budget on Friday, with Finance Minister P Chidambaram joining the ranks of a handful of finance ministers to do so on February 29. Others before him included Morarji Desai, CD Deshmukh, TT Krishnamachari, Pranab Mukherjee, ND Tiwari, Manmohan Singh and Yashwant Sinha.
As on previous occasions, the session — from February 25 to May 9 with a 25-day recess from March 20 to April 15 to enable standing committees to vet the demands for grants for various ministries — is expected to be stormy. The debate on the presidential address and the government's move to seek extension of President's rule in Nagaland before its expiry on March 3 would set the stage for heated exchanges in the first week itself.
Party leaders have already apprised Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on the issues they intend to raise, with each party using it to attack the other. The BJP-NDA and the Left would put the government on the mat on hike in diesel prices, general price rise, farmers' problems and agrarian crisis while the Congress and the BJP would slug it out on issues of internal security, including terrorism and Naxal violence.
Other issues to come up include threat to Christians in Orissa, attack on North Indians in Maharashtra, Sethu Samudram controversy, situation in Sri Lanka and on the Nepal border, China's claim on parts of Arunachal Pradesh, unemployment, Eleventh Five Year Plan, Indo-US N-Deal and the delay in holding the Karnataka assembly polls.