To end logjam, Meira may play peacemaker

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 29, 2013 01:18 IST

In what can be seen as a last-ditch effort to save the ongoing budget session from a complete wash-out, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is set to call an all-party meeting on Monday.

Sources said that Kumar is likely to appeal that discussions should be allowed at least on the Demands for Grants, the railway and finance bill, instead of passing them amidst din. This comes after Opposition parties’ earlier appeal to the Speaker that the government should not be allowed to pass other key bills like the food, Lokpal or land acquisition without a discussion.

“The Speaker is worried about the ongoing disruptions and is keen to see normalcy returns to the House,” Lok Sabha secretary general TK Vishwanathan told HT.

There had been three all-party meetings and an equal number of meetings between the government managers and select opposition parties since the beginning of the budget session in February.

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But ever since the beginning of the second half of budget session, opposition-sponsored disruptions have not allowed parliament to function.

While a large section of the non-UPA, non-NDA parties are keen to resume business, the BJP is demanding law minister’s resignation and dilution of the JPC report.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh slammed the Opposition for the Parliament logjam and said, “Not letting Parliament function is a mockery of democracy. The whole world is laughing at us.”

CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharya, however, feels, “the fate of the session depends entirely on the government. If it is willing to accept the Opposition’s demands, the Houses can run.”

Apart from 35 pending bills, the government is yet to pass the finance bill 2013 and this year’s railway appropriation bill.

 

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