Manmohan Singh government’s floor coordination strategists reached out to BJP parliamentary party leaders on Friday to facilitate passage of legislative business within the remaining part of the monsoon session.
After first two weeks of the five-week session, the ruling side has not been able to complete legislative business set out for the period.
Confrontation between the two sides on issues such as corruption, price-rise, Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s statement blaming the previous NDA government for installing Suresh Kalmadi as the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief and lathi-charge on BJYM activists had led to repeated disruptions, stonewalling government’s efforts for passage of legislation.
Accompanied by parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Lok Sabha Leader Pranab Mukherjee met BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman LK Advani and his party colleagues for almost half-an-hour.
The meeting took place at Advani’s office in Parliament. Other BJP leaders present were Leaders of Opposition, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and former Union minister Yaswant Sinha.
During the meeting, Mukherjee is learnt to have sought BJP’s cooperation in ensuring smooth functioning of Parliament in the remaining part of the monsoon session. Mukherjee is learnt to have told BJP leaders that they could raise issues that figure in their priority list, but, in return, must allow the government to execute its business. BJP leaders were amenable to the formula, it is learnt.
Speaking to newspersons later, Swaraj described the meeting as a “routine courtesy call” and insisted that the controversy triggered by Sinha’s comments during the debate on Maken’s statement did not figure in the meeting.
Advani had earlier complained to Mukherjee over the lathi-charge on BJP youth wing activists by the Delhi Police during an agitation against corruption and told him that it could not have happened without a nod from the Home Minister.
Bansal, on his part, said that the government had sought Opposition parties’ cooperation to run Parliament smoothly. “There are a lot of bills which are supposed to be taken up during the session and we would like those to be taken up, and so we sought their cooperation,” he said.
The minister said the government had also offered its willingness to discuss issues close to the Opposition’s heart. “The government is ready for calling attention/short-duration discussions, which members of the Opposition parties wish to take up,” Bansal said. Economic Times