Ahead of Parliament’s Budget session, Oppn wary of Congress move


It may not be smooth sailing, at least for the first week, for the government during the Budget Session that begins on Tuesday — the day of the Economic Survey — with President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

However, MPs feel that for the first time, the is playing its cards close to its chest as no party leader is likely to be present at the meeting (they are unable to return from the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar).

“We need to assess what the is going to do,” an MP from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said.

The session will have 27 sittings and continue till April 6 with a month-long recess to examine the Budget papers.

However, it will be dominated by demands from the for a discussion on the allegations against the . The says it wants to take up this issue because it involves public money of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and other government entities, judiciary-government relations and gags on the freedom of the press.

Interestingly, the Trinamool (TMC) had apparently held a meeting with Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma so that the could tone down its to the BJP.

However, it was the TMC, which raised the question of a free press at the parliamentary affairs meeting on Monday.

The government, at the customary pre-session meeting with the Opposition, said it was willing to discuss every issue under the rules during the Budget Session. It sought the support of Opposition parties in running the proceedings smoothly.

Deputy leader of the House, Rajnath Singh, parliamentary affairs minister, Pralhad Joshi, leader of the Upper House, Piyush Goyal, minister of state (MoS), parliamentary affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan were among those present at the meeting held at Parliament house complex.

According to sources, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) raised the issue of Chinese intrusions and asked for a discussion in Parliament. “To this, the government responded by pleading that the defence forces had acquitted themselves with great bravery and restraint on the border. All was well there, so the issue should be left alone,” said an MP.

It was defence minister Rajnath Singh, who intervened, cutting into the clarification by the parliamentary affairs minister. However, Lok Sabha Congress MP Manish Tiwari has been protesting to hold a discussion on the matter (intrusions) for the past two sessions of Parliament

And, how the Congress is going to address the issue remains to be seen.

Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) Sanjay Singh, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)’s Manoj Jha, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Left parties and others warned they would raise the Adani issue and seek a discussion in Parliament.

The YSR Congress demanded a nationwide caste-based economic Census at the meeting. It is necessary to know the economic status of backward castes who are “lagging behind” on social and development indicators, the party said.

YSR Congress leader Vijaysai Reddy said backward castes are over 50 per cent of the total population and the Census will help find their economic status. JD(U) and RJD had also demanded a caste Census.

BJD MP Sasmit Patra said, “Women’s Reservation Bill is going to be a priority for BJD in this session. We’ve been pushing for the passage of the Bill.

We’ll also build consensus with like-minded parties to put pressure on the Centre to ensure that the Bill is passed.”

He added that his party wanted a discussion on the free house-building scheme (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or PMAY) and the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) that have specific timelines.

“PMGKAY has been stopped, we want renewal and continual. Under the PMAY, houses are still to be constructed, sanctioned and they’ll stop this programme by 2024. We’ll demand that all pending houses should be completed and allocated,” he added.

MPs had an open mind about the session. “Normally, it is the Congress that does the chest thumping and sets the tone for the session. But because the members were not there on Monday, we are wondering how they will behave. The Congress seems to be feeling rejuvenated and confident after the Bharat Jodo Yatra and believes it has got a fresh lease of life. How this is going to manifest in the ongoing session we’re waiting to see. This is especially pertinent to the Rajya Sabha where they have good speakers like P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh.

We almost got the feeling that the Congress is not waiting to consult the rest of the Opposition. And, it may go alone even if the Opposition does not agree with it,” said an MP from the Rajya Sabha.


  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget on February 1
  • The first part of the Budget Session will conclude on February 14
  • Parliament will reconvene on March 12 for the second part of the Budget Session


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