New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal opposition in Parliament, will not disrupt the presentation of the railway and national budgets but wants home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to withdraw his comments on so-called saffron terrorism, a euphemism for Hindu extremism.
“Shinde must clarify and apologise,” Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, told reporters on Wednesday. “The budget session begins from 21 February and on 22 February Parliament will sit for normal transaction of business. Budget will be tabled later. So you first solve this problem.”
Shinde on 20 January accused the BJP and its progenitor, the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Sawyamsevak Sangh, of running saffron terror camps in the country. The Hindu fundamentalist BJP has taken strong exception to his remarks.
The responsibility for the normal transaction of business in Parliament rests on the ruling coalition, Swaraj said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said earlier on Wednesday that all political parties were obliged to ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament and hoped that it would be a productive budget session. The Prime Minister didn’t respond to questions on the issue of Shinde tendering an apology.
BJP president Rajnath Singh and other leaders held a protest march on Wednesday against Shinde, who is also the leader of house in the Lok Sabha.
After the budget is tabled, the BJP will raise the issue of alleged kickbacks in the purchase of helicopters for top officials and the beheading of Indian soldiers by the Pakistani army.
A meeting of the National Democratic Alliance, which is led by the BJP, is scheduled on Wednesday evening to draw up the alliance’s strategy for Parliament’s budget session.
Meanwhile, the Congress party, too, appealed to all the political parties to cooperate in the upcoming Budget session.
“Let us see what their (BJP’s) attitude is. It is a very important session and some very critical Bills are coming up...we hope that we will get cooperation from all the parties,” party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said on Wednesday.
The ruling party also backed Shinde. Commenting on the home minister’s remark, Dikshit said: “He has not alleged that any religion or any colour is associated with terrorism, terror has no religion and he has made that very clear to the opposition.”