Parliament should function despite differences: PM
Seeking cooperation of all parties in running Parliament during Budget session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it is a 'mahapanchayat' which should function despite differences which may crop up during poll season.
After the Winter Session was washed out due to protests over demonetisation, Modi reached out to the opposition on the eve of the Budget session at an all-party meeting here called by the government that was attended by all major parties except Trinamool Congress, which has been unhappy over the note ban and arrest of its MPs in chit fund cases.
The government, however, asserted that the Budget will be presented as scheduled, rejecting the opposition's allegations that it will impact the upcoming assembly elections.
Speaking to reporters, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that during the meeting Prime Minister Modi sought support of all parties and said "in election time, there can be some differences among us, but Parliament is mahapanchayat. It should function."
Kumar said all parties responded positively and said that they want the House to function smoothly.
Rejecting the opposition's allegation that government should not have advanced the session as early presentation of the Union Budget will impact the level playing field during upcoming state assembly elections, the Minister said Supreme Court and Election Commission have already given their judgement on this.
"The government's efforts will be that the budget should benefit all and takes the country forward," Kumar said.
Earlier speaking to reporters, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that government should not have advanced the Budget session.
Azad also citied a similar situation in 2012 when the then UPA government had postponed the budget session due to state assembly elections.
"We have asked the government that they should avoid any such announcement in the budget session which affects level playing field in the five state assembly elections," Azad said.
The Congress leader has also asked the government to call another all-party meeting before next part of budget session.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and CPI(M) leader Sitram Yechury demanded that there should be discussion on demonetisation also during the first phase of session.
"We have told the government that there should be discussion on demonetisation for two days as the people across India have suffered due to this irrational move of the government," Yechury told reporters.
He also said that presentation of budget on February 1 is "non-scientific" as it will not take into consideration the statistical data of third quarter which comes only in mid- February.