With the government having expressed no hesitation in discussing the Jawaharlal Nehru University row in Parliament, the nation braces itself as a turbulent Budget Session will begin on Tuesday during which President Pranab Mukherjee will address a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
During the session, the Rail Budget will be presented on 25th and the General Budget on 29th of February.
The first phase of the Session will come to an end on March 16 and the second phase will begin April 25 and conclude on May 13.
The Bills which will come up for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha include GST, Real Estate, Anti-Hijacking, National Waterways and Whistle Blowers Protection. In the Lok Sabha, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill is among others which will be taken up for discussion and passage.
Asserting that the government was ready to discuss the current state of unrest at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Union parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu earlier said that there were different views on the issue which needs to be addressed and debated.
“It’s a big country and yes there are several issues. That’s what the Parliament is there for, to discuss those issues. Government has no hesitation in discussing JNU or Hyderabad University or any other issues. There are different views on it which needs to be debated,” Naidu told the media here after chairing an all-party meeting.
The Congress and some other opposition members are set to target the government on a range of issues including the JNU row, the Jat agitation and the unrest in Hyderabad varsity following the suicide of a Dalit student.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday accused the BJP-led government of unleashing its “divisive agenda by generating a wholly unwarranted debate on patriotism and nationalism” and said it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that parliament functions.
The party issued a statement after the meeting, saying educational institutions “have not only been a target but high priority in the RSS’s nefarious agenda to impose their ideology in the universities and colleges”.
The Congress accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana of “totally mishandling” the situation arising out of the agitation by the Jats for quota and the central government of “murder” of the Constitution in Arunachal Pradesh.
It said the party will raise these issues in parliament in cooperation with other like-minded parties.
Gandhi said the Congress wants parliament to function but the government refuses to accept the democratic right of the Opposition to raise burning public issues.
Making a veiled reference to the controversies surrounding Jawaharlal Nehru University, the suicide of a Dalit youth in Hyderabad university and the violence in a Delhi court ahead of proceedings concerning JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, Gandhi said the CWC meeting took place in the “most disturbing circumstances that are causing grave disquiet across the country”.
Meanwhile, urging the opposition parties to cooperate in running parliament smoothly, Naidu said everyone would have an opportunity to raise issues but discussions should take place according to rules.
There should be debate, but without disruption, said the minister.
Naidu said Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill and real estate bill were key reform legislation that need to be passed in the budget session.
He said the government has been trying consistently to make parliament function smoothly, as reflected in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting last week with leaders of political parties.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Congress would extend its support to the bills based on their merit.
Noting his party would raise issues like the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase on January 2, JNU, and Hyderabad University, he said generations of Congressmen have been making sacrifices for the country and the party does not need lessons from the Bharatiya Janata Party in patriotism.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the government has not accepted the party’s demands on the GST bill.
He said that the bills on which there was a broad consensus could be taken up for consideration in the first phase of session from February 23 to March 16 and other bills during the second phase between April 25 and May 13.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury meanwhile accused the government of “continuously spoiling the atmosphere in the country”.
The JNU has been on the boil after a police crackdown on students accused of shouting anti-India slogans.
There has also been unrest and violence arising out of demonstrations in Haryana by members of the Jat community to demand reservations in education and jobs.
Earlier, Hyderabad Central University had erupted into protests against alleged harassment of Dalit students following the suicide on January 17 of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula.