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Opposition for debate on farm, job distress

Opposition parties raised issues such as unemployment, farmer distress, drought, and press freedom at an all-party meeting the government had called ahead of the Parliament’s budget session from Monday.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2019 07:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Parliament budget session,budget session,first parliament session
Opposition parties raised issues such as unemployment, farmer distress, drought, and press freedom at an all-party meeting the government had called. (PTI File Photo)

Opposition parties raised issues such as unemployment, farmer distress, drought, and press freedom at an all-party meeting the government had called ahead of the Parliament’s budget session from Monday. The session is the first since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power last month.

Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Farooq Abdullah (National Conference), Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party) and Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Congress or TMC) were among the opposition leaders, who attended the meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired.

“We congratulated the government. But we also asserted that this is a fight of ideologies, and it will remain a fight of ideologies,” Azad told reporters.

He said even when out of power, they will continue to work for the upliftment of farmers, labourers and women. “We also said that there are some issues that the government should pay attention to such as those of the farmers, drought, lack of drinking water, and massive unemployment,” Azad said.

He said the government needed to immediately pay attention to unemployment that has increased over the last five years. “We also raised the issue of press freedom. The behaviour of ruling party workers towards journalists was also raised. They [journalists] are being beaten and efforts are being made to muzzle their voices. We urged the government to look into it.”

He said they underlined that there was no need for continued President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir. “The government says the environment is not conducive for polls and that is why the president’s rule has been imposed. On the other hand, the Centre says panchayat elections were carried out peacefully last year.” He said Lok Sabha elections were also held peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir. “So, when panchayat and parliamentary polls can be conducted, why not state polls.”

The TMC raised the issues of electoral reforms, including state funding of elections and paper ballots. It expressed concerns over the government’s use of ordinances. The DMK’s demands included farm loan waiver, Mekedatu dam issue and exemption for Tamil Nadu from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Jun 17, 2019 07:51 IST