New Delhi: The protection of cows, the search for Saraswati river—these are some of the issues being raised by members of the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha, one during the Zero Hour, when any member can raise issues of urgent public importance, and the other as a calling attention motion.
And so, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would like to press on with its reformist agenda, it often has to contend with the different priorities of some of its representatives.
To be sure, many BJP representatives have raised substantive issues such as a redefinition of the poverty line or the lack of facilities in district hospitals, but
several others have been worried about matters of the sort mentioned above.
Meanwhile, several of the latter, especially a large number of BJP members of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh, have vehemently opposed a debate on the increasing incidents of communal tensions across the country. Another debate on the need to have stringent legislation to check increasing atrocities against women and children in the country has also been pending since last week.
On Tuesday, Rattan Lal Kataria, BJP MP from Ambala (SC), called the attention of Uma Bharti, minister of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, to the need to set up Saraswati Research Institute for revival of the river Saraswati.
Kataria said Saraswati river was a symbol of India’s cultural heritage and part of the civilization that grew up in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa as it flowed from Himalayas along with the other historic river, Indus. He pointed out that the previous BJP-led government under Atal Bihari Vajpayeehad taken keen interest in reviving the river.
“It is a search for lost civilizations and habitations...the son of India, our leader Prime Minister Narendra Modihad promised that he would initiate programme to search for the river," Kataria reminded the government which instead expended its energies on matters such as getting the critical Insurance Bill through Parliament.
Bharti said the government is collecting scientific evidence and information to detect and revive underground water sources of river Saraswati. “I have asked groundwater recharge authorities to collect information, detect and revive the water sources and the roots of the river. Saraswati is not a myth; scientific evidence is now available to prove its existence," Bharti said.
Kataria’s colleague from Kaushambi (SC) in Uttar Pradesh, Vinod Kumar Sonkar, was worried about cows. “Not a single cow is safe in Uttar Pradesh. They are being slaughtered in broad daylight. There has to be a total ban on cow slaughter and FIR should be registered against those who violate it," he said.
Although the budget session was expected to be a heavy business session in which the government was scheduled to push through a number of reform Bills and further its legislative agenda, it is increasingly becoming noticed for the tension between the treasury and opposition benches.
The Congress, Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress have been keen to raise issues related to communal violence, especially in Uttar Pradesh, during Zero Hour.
The result has been verbal clashes across the aisles of Parliament, with the BJP’s 71 MPs from Uttar Pradesh usually at the forefront.