Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday the government was ready for debates but all parties must work for the nation, hours before a stormy winter session of Parliament was set to open with a slew of key reform bills at stake.
Modi has agreed to intervene in a rare parliamentary debate to commemorate the Constitution and may use the occasion to speak on the raging intolerance debate, a sign of the government attempting to placate the clamorous Opposition.
“I’m confident we all MPs will leave no stone unturned to match the expectations of the people of the nation. I have spoken to all the political parties and all want the House to run smoothly,” the PM said, speaking to reporters outside Parliament.
Watch | PM Modi says ‘debate and dialogue are soul of Parliament’
The month-long winter session is expected to see fireworks with the government determined to push through its ambitious legislative agenda of 38 bills – including the landmark goods and services tax reform.
But opposition parties are adamant on discussing a wide range of subjects like drought, price rise, declining industrial production and exports and especially use the growing chorus over rising intolerance to corner the government.
Recent weeks have seen intense back-channel negotiations with several rounds of meetings between top leaders and exhortations by the Speaker to let the House run without disruptions. Modi also urged all parties to let Parliament function smoothly.
“The soul of Parliament is debate and discussion. Our constitution is a ray of hope- Harmony, Opportunity, People participation and Equality. We are hopeful we can fulfill the people’s expectations in Parliament this winter session,” he said.
This comes after the last monsoon session was washed out by a Congress-led Opposition demanding the resignation of senior BJP leaders mired in controversies.
The winter session begins days after the BJP suffered a bruising loss in Bihar that has buoyed the Opposition and especially the Congress that was reeling from a string of electoral setbacks.
(with inputs from agencies)