Despite differences with govt, Oppn wants Parliament to run: NDA
The NDA on Wednesday said it will strongly raise a host of issues, including the VVIP helicopter scam and the Hindu terror remarks of home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, in the Budget Session of Parliament beginning from Thursday and demand action from the government.
"On February 22, we will raise the issue of corruption in the helicopter deal in both Houses of Parliament at noon. Before every session of Parliament a new scam surfaces," JD(U) chief and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav told reporters in New Delhi.
The NDA floor leaders, belonging to BJP, JD(U), SAD, Shiv Sena and Haryana Janhit Party took this decision in a meeting on the eve of the Budget Session of Parliament.
Yadav said Shinde and leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj will hold a separate meeting to find a solution to the stand-off over his controversial remarks that BJP and RSS are running terror camps.
Both sides have expressed confidence that they will find a way out on the issue.
The NDA convenor said despite differences with the government on several issues, the Opposition wants the Parliament to run.
"We have made this request to the Lok Sabha Speaker also that the House should run and we will talk to other parties also on this issue," Yadav said.
The NDA plans to raise several other issues, including discussion and passage of the Bill for protection of women against sexual offences, relations with neighbouring countries, the tussle with Press Council of India chairperson Markandey Katju over his comments against Gujarat and Bihar governments.
"There are several challenges facing the country. The helicopter scam will certainly be raised. Some other scams were left halfway. We will try to raise them too," Yadav said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hoped that Parliament's budget session beginning on Thursday would run smoothly even as the BJP demanded an end to the row over Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's "saffron terror" remark.
"This session of Parliament is going to transact important financial business before the house and it is our sincere hope that we will have a productive, constructive debate leading to agreed solutions to the many national problems that our country faces," Manmohan Singh told reporters after an all-party meeting.
"I have said this before and I'll repeat it again. Parliament is the forum for discussions or dialogue and all parties have an obligation to ensure that parliament runs smoothly. I am hopeful and confident that this session is going to be a fruitful session," he said.
The Prime Minister also said that the country faces many "economical challenges".
"It is my sincere hope that all political parties will join hands to find productive, constructive solutions to the formidable challenges facing our nation," he said.
The all-party meet, called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, was aimed at the smooth functioning of Parliament.
The BJP also wants Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to apologise for his remarks on "saffron terror."
Sources said Shinde has conveyed to Swaraj, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, that he will talk to her to find a way out on the saffron terror issue to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.
"Both sides will make efforts to find a way out for the house to function," BJP veteran LK Advani said after the all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar ahead of the Budget Session.
The BJP on Wednesday staged a strong protest over Shinde's "saffron terror" remarks and said the comments were part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for votebank politics and demanded an apology.
BJP President Rajnath Singh questioned the Home Minister's intentions in making such a provocative statement.
"This comment of the home minister is part of a conspiracy to divide the nation for votebank politics," Singh said while addressing a large number of protesting party workers at Parliament Street in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Stepping up the attack on Shinde ahead of the Budget Session, Rajnath Singh questioned the home minister's intentions in making such a provocative statement.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the Congress was indulging in "communal polarisation" through such remarks.
"The Congress and UPA votebank is contracting. Shinde wants to divide the nation on the basis of religion. They are trying to indulge in communal polarisation. The home minister made this statement with the intention of dividing the nation for votes and seek the votebank of a particular religion," he said.