The government today said it would “leave no stone unturned” to ensure the passage of the triple talaq bill in the Budget session of Parliament starting today, and asserted that it would talk to various parties for a consensus on the issue. The government met leaders of political parties at a meeting in Parliament House today and also sought their cooperation in ensuring the success of the crucial session during which the Union Budget would be presented. The all-party meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar, besides leaders of opposition and other parties. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also held a dinner meeting with party leaders for the session’s smooth functioning and said the leaders had assured her of their cooperation. Addressing the floor leaders of the various parties in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Modi said the government accords importance to issues raised by the parties and urged their leaders to create a “constructive atmosphere for the national good”.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kumar described the meeting as “fruitful”, and said the prime minister urged the leaders of the parties to make the session successful. “We will leave no stone unturned and persuade and request all political parties so that the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, as it has been in the Lok Sabha,” he said when asked about the triple talaq bill after the meeting. “We are very hopeful that the bill which is going to negate ‘Talaq-e-Biddat’ and pave the way for empowering Muslim women will be passed in the Rajya Sabha, too,” he said. Kumar said that he, along with Ministers of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel and Arjun Ram Meghwal, will approach various political parties to evolve a consensus for its passage. “Like the way parties passed the GST unanimously, we are requesting them to pass this bill which is going to ban the practice of instant triple talaq (Talaq-e-Biddat) among Muslims,” he said.
On the forthcoming session, he said, “We feel the budget session will be very successful and fruitful”. He said the session was important as the government took seriously suggestions made by various parties during the all-party meeting. Kumar said the prime minister stressed the need to strengthen the system of Parliamentary Committees, where members spoke freely in the absence of the media and deliberated on issues of national interest. Modi urged all political parties to avoid “tokenism” in the Standing Committees of Parliament and asked them to give concrete solutions to issues of national importance. Kumar said the prime minister told leaders of various parties to make the system of committees a role model of participative democracy that could be adopted by state legislatures across the country.
In a lighter vein, he added that Modi, who spoke after the CPI’s D Raja, told the meeting, “After Raja, Praja (referring to himself) will speak”. To a question about the demands of various parties during the last session that the bill be referred to a select committee, he said it was now the property of the Rajya Sabha. “The matter is before Rajya Sabha. Till the deliberations are going on…It is for the House to decide,” Kumar said.
Asked if the bill would come up during the first part of the session, he replied in the affirmative, adding that it was listed in the business of the House. While the government wants to push the passage of the triple talaq bill during the session, it will present the Economic Survey tomorrow after a joint address by the president. The General Budget will be presented by the finance minister on February 1. The opposition, however, said it planned to counter the government on issues such as incidents of rape and other atrocities on women, alleged attacks on the Constitution and constitutional institutions and the plight of traders, besides the recent incident of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh.
The opposition has also asked the government to allow a discussion on these issues during the Budget session. Leaders of the opposition parties are likely to meet tomorrow to push for unity and discuss ways to together corner the government on disparate issues.
The BJP Parliamentary Party executive will also hold a meeting tomorrow, which will be followed by one of NDA constituents, who will also deliberate on their strategy. “These issues are important. The government should adopt a cooperative attitude and allow the opposition to raise these issues,” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said. RJD leader Jaiprakash Narain Yadav said the opposition wanted the government to speak in Parliament on issues of public importance such as communal and gender violence. The session is likely to conclude on April 6, with 31 sittings spread over 68 days. Parliament will be adjourned for a recess on February 9 and reassemble on March 5. The opposition was represented at the meeting by Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), D Raja (CPI), Kanimozhi (DMK), Derek O’Brien and Sudip Bandhopadhyay (TMC), Tariq Anwar (NCP) and Dushyant Chautala (INLD).