Government meets opposition to put ‘houses’ in order (Lead)

August 12th, 2011 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) With no significant business being done in the first two weeks of the monsoon session, a worried government Friday sought help from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the smooth functioning of parliament.

Hoping to get important bills passed in this session, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is leader of the Lok Sabha, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal met BJP leader L.K. Advani in his office in Parliament House. BJP’s Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, was also present in the meeting that lasted for about 30 minutes.

Bansal said they told the opposition leaders that important bills were pending and sought their cooperation in getting them passed. He, however, denied that any deal was struck between the government and the opposition.

“We requested them that we should have government business, which is the duty of everybody in the house and any discussion that they would want on any subject under the appropriate rules would be taken up,” Bansal told reporters.

“We sought their cooperation, and they assured us of that because lot of government business is pending,” he said.

Sushma Swaraj told reporters that the “meeting was just a routine courtesy call by the ministers”.

In the first two weeks of the session that ends Sep 8, the government has so far been able to get passed two bills in the two houses from among the 35 on the agenda.

The government had also planned to introduce 35 new bills in parliament but could manage only a couple, including the anti-graft Lokpal bill.

Running short of time, the government is apparently concerned over the pendency of bills as almost half the session is already over.

Many days of the monsoon session have been lost to repeated adjournments due to opposition protests over various issues like price rise, corruption, police action against BJP workers in Delhi and farmers in Pune.

The BJP had been enforcing repeated adjournments of the two houses over one or another issue.

The situation had reached a stalemate before the government bought peace with the opposition in a meeting Wednesday. Parliament has been working smoothly since Thursday morning.

According to Bansal, parliament had lost “43 percent” of its business hours this monsoon session.

The minister denied the allegation of Left parties that there was a deal between the government and the opposition not to let the houses function.

“This is a totally baseless allegation,” Bansal said at a separate press conference later. “We talk to all parties, we also talked to Left parties when the debate on price rise was to take place.”

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