New Delhi: A day before Budget Session on Monday, the government held an all-party meeting on Sunday where the Opposition demanded that issues such as farm distress, unemployment and drought be debated upon in Parliament.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the meeting, attended by representatives of all parties, including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and TMC leader Derek O'Brien.
The Prime Minister has called a meeting of chiefs of all parties having representatives in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on June 19 to discuss "one nation, one election" issue, celebration of 75 years of India's Independence in 2022, 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year and issues of "aspirational districts", Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said after the meeting. He said the PM has also called a meeting of MPs to discuss the issues on June 20.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Azad said that all those bills which are in the interest of the people "we are not opposed to them". There should be a discussion on farmers’ distress, unemployment and drought, he said.
He also called for early conduct of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, currently under President's rule, asserting that if Lok Sabha polls can be held then why not state polls. It appears that the Centre wants to run the state through the Governor's administration, he alleged.
Congress's Adhir Ranjan Choudhary and K Suresh were also present at the meeting. TMC's O'Brien demanded that the Women's Reservation Bill, which seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, be brought immediately in the session. The first session of the newly-constituted 17th Lok Sabha will be held from June 17 to July 26.
Earlier, sources had said the government was likely to press upon the need for passing 10 ordinances, such as the one on Triple Talaq, urgently since they will lapse after the budget session, sources aware of the developments said. They will also list out crucial bills such as Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, Citizenship Amendment Bill and Bill for labour reforms among others.
The Congress is yet to name its leaders in both Houses though efforts are on to name Rahul Gandhi as leader in Lok Sabha. The grand old party is facing a deadlock of sorts since the Congress chief insisted on stepping down after the poll drubbing but the party refused to accept his decision.