Opposition parties today closed ranks over JNU row but offered conditional support only for the passage of “essential” bills, as Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari held an all-party meeting aimed at ensuring its smooth functioning in the budget session, beginning next week.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also attended the meeting, made a brief intervention hoping that the three-month long session, beginning February 23, would be a “very constructive and positive” affair.
However, there was enough indication that the crucial bills like GST are unlikely to be taken up in the first half of the session, which concludes on March 16.
The JNU row was raised by several opposition leaders and government assured them that a date for the debate on the issue will in all probability be decided on the opening day of the session itself.
There is a view in BJP that a debate on the JNU row will revolve around the issue of nationalism which will work to its advantage.
In the meeting, the Opposition and the government also agreed to pass a bill without discussion in RS on delimitation exercise in West Bengal to grant voting rights to people who came to India from Bangladeshi enclaves.
Ansari said,”time has come to assure the public that parliamentary democracy does work and is sensitive to the needs of the people.”
Immediately after the meeting called by Ansari, Opposition leaders huddled together to chalk out a common floor strategy.
A meeting of the Congress Working Committee has been convened by party chief Sonia Gandhi on the eve of the session.
At the all party meeting, D Raja (CPI) urged Ansari to hold a structured discussion on the JNU issue and take it up on a priority basis while K C Tyagi from JD(U) accused the government of “targetting” Opposition parties, and speaking the language of Congress during the Emergency.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs M A Naqvi said that a decision on the date for the discussion on JNU row will be taken on the first working day of the session when a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee is called.
After the meeting, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said,”we have said that we will cooperate in the passage of the essential bills, which are in the interest of the nation, and for fulfilling people’s aspiration. We will support on merit basis only those measures on which there is a general consensus.”