The stage seems set for a stormy Budget session of Parliament beginning on Tuesday. The Opposition pulled no punches in two all-party meetings on Monday held by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, accusing the government of “setting the agenda for disruption” and asking for a debate.
A discussion on higher education institutions, dealing with the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and the JNU sedition case has been fixed for February 24, where the first showdown between the government and the Opposition is expected to take place. Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said Bills would be allowed to be cleared on “merit.” Sources said a broad consensus had been reached on clearing a Bill on delimitation of electoral constituencies in West Bengal following the Indo-Bangladesh land boundary agreement.
“Contentious Bills should not be brought. Bring only those Bills on which there is a general agreement. Bills like the Goods and Services Tax Bill will not come in the first half of the session,” Mr. Kharge said. Asked whether the GST Bill could be passed in the second half of the session, Mr. Kharge evaded a direct reply, saying a view would be taken then. Mr. Naidu, however, said the meetings were very positive and parties were in favour of running Parliament.