Govt to tackle BJP, Left issues in Winter session

The BJP and Left will take up the Afzal, farmers, and terrorism issues in its opening session, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2006 23:15 IST

The government is bracing up to face heat from both the BJP-led Opposition and outside supporters, the Left when Parliament’s winter session opens on Wednesday.

The BJP has scheduled mass protests in the Capital and other areas that witnessed terror attacks on the opening day, in protest against the demand for clemency to Parliament attack convict Mohammed Afzal Guru.

The Left parties have also announced a farmers' march to Parliament. Left trade unions will also take to the streets on November 23.

On its part, the government does not expect any major crisis in Parliament. Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunshi said the government has "the capacity" to counter any Opposition motion.

Thousands of BJP supporters led by former PM AB Vajpayee, party chief Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition LK Advani will proceed towards the Parliament House to protest the government's "laxity" in dealing with terror elements, BJP’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha VK Malhotra said onSunday.

The serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, seizure of RDX from metros and spread of activities of Pakistan's ISI and the visit of Nepal's Maoist leader Prachanda to the country will dominate the BJP’s agenda, he said

The BJP MPs will also raise issues like the sealing of shops in residential areas in Delhi, China’s claim over Arunchal Pradesh, inflation and press for a cut in prices of petrol and diesel. The Left is also likely to present its views forcefully on these issues.

The key issue that will dominate Parliament is the controversy over reservations.
The government will table in the two Houses the report of the Sachar Committee, which stopped short of recommending but detailed the socio-economic and educational backwardness of Muslims.

The recent Supreme Court verdict barring the creamy layer benefiting from the quotas meant for Dalits, tribals and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) is also likely to generate a storm. Many political parties want the creamy layer among the SC and STs not to be excluded from the quota for some more years.

The BJP’s target of attack is religion-based reservation. Advani, who is Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, told a Bangalore rally on Sunday that "we strongly suspect that the UPA Government is going to use the Sachar Committee report to introduce or promise to introduce religion-based reservations for Muslims" but BJP would "not compromise on this."

On the other hand, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the Left trade unions would highlight the plight of the people due to the "anti-poor" policies pursued by the government.

CPI (M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury said in Hyderabad that Left parties will take up issues pertaining to the crisis faced by farmers, special economic zones and the “new conditions” brought by the US Senate while passing the Indo-US civil nuclear deal last week.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee began interactions with the leaders of political parties ahead of the session. A four-member NDA group met him over breakfast on Saturday. He met Congress leaders over dinner on Sunday.

He will meet leaders of the Left parties and those supporting the UPA, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party for breakfast on Monday.

The Speaker told the Opposition leaders that he would accommodate the issues they plan to raise “subject to procedural rules and time.”

Advani told the Speaker that internal security issues would be a top priority for the Opposition. BJP leaders do not rule out disruption of Parliament as the party presses the issue of delay in the hanging of Afzal.

The BJP is planning an adjournment motion on internal security issues though it has no plans for a no-confidence motion against the government. Having parted ways with the Telegu Desam Party and in no mood to join hands with the Telegana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), the BJP wishes to introduce a motion for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

First Published: Nov 19, 2006 23:15 IST