New Delhi: The government said it hopes to get the controversial triple talaq bill passed in the Rajya Sabha in the budget session, setting the stage for heated debates, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reached out to the opposition at an all-party meeting seeking their suggestions.
The tussle between the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and opposition parties is expected to resume during the budget session of Parliament beginning on Monday.
The government hopes that the bill to end the practice of instant triple talaq would get similar support from the opposition as the Constitution amendment bill to allow the goods and services tax (GST) did last year.
“The Prime Minister said budget session is very important and government takes very sincerely the suggestions given about it by opposition during discussion in all-party meeting," said parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar after the all-party meeting.
“We hope the triple talaq bill is passed in Rajya Sabha too. My colleagues and I will leave no stone unturned in talking to and convincing the political parties. The way they have passed GST unanimously, we request them to pass this too, unanimously," Kumar added.
The bill that seeks to criminalize the practice of triple talaq was blocked in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, earlier this month. The Congress-led opposition wants the bill to be sent to a select committee for further scrutiny.
Opposition parties are also planning to corner the government on unemployment, price rise, rural distress and atrocities on Dalits. Opposition parties are likely to hold a strategy meeting in New Delhi on Monday for discussions on the upcoming session. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has already said he will attend it.
“Almost all opposition parties highlighted that the duration of the session was very short and a wide range of issues need to be discussed. PM spoke about how this budget session was important and that committees are there to discuss issues. We also raised the issue of pending women reservation bill, atrocities on Dalits and tribals, farm distress and crisis in judiciary," a senior opposition leader who attended the meeting said, requesting anonymity.
According to another senior leader who attended the all-party meeting on Sunday, opposition parties raised a number of issues with the Congress talking about the short duration of the session, the current economic situation in the country, unemployment, the situation in Kashmir and the Trinamool Congress raising the issues of farm distress and unemployment.
“Unemployment is rising. Peace and harmony are being driven out and violence being spread. Nation’s unity is in danger. From Koregaon to Nandangaon to Buxar, Dalits are being oppressed. We raised these issues. We will also raise issues of farmers’ suicides," said Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) after the all-party meeting.
The meeting was attended by Modi, Union ministers and leaders of Congress, TMC, Samajwadi Party, Left parties, Janata Dal (United), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Indian National Lok Dal among other opposition parties. Later in the evening, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan too held an all-party meeting to discuss the upcoming Parliament session with senior leaders.
The first phase of the budget session begins on Monday and ends on 9 February. After a recess, the session reconvenes from 5 March to 6 April. Monday will see a joint address by President Ram Nath Kovind in Parliament followed by the presentation of the Economic Survey, and the Union budget will be presented on 1 February.