New Delhi, Nov 22: Government appears to have defused a confrontation for now in Parliament by persuading the Opposition to have a discussion on the issue of price rise in the Lok Sabha tomorrow under a rule that does not entail voting.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters that the Lower House would take up the discussion on the statement of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the price situation.
Bansal's announcement is significant given the fact that earlier in the day the Left parties had declared that they are firm on taking up an adjournment motion in Parliament on spiralling prices.
The Winter Session of Parliament had got off to a stormy start today with opposition in the Lok Sabha raising a variety of issues and the Left parties protesting against price rise and giving an adjournment motion on the issue.
Bansal's announcement came close on the heels of a luncheon meeting Mukherjee had with the Left leaders and Business Advisory Committee meeting of the Lok Sabha.
The Left leaders present at the luncheon meeting with Mukherjee were CPI-M leaders Sitaram Yechury and Basudeb Acharia and CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta and D Raja.
Congress sources said that Mukherjee would be reaching out with other parties also including the BJP through such luncheon meetings. A meeting with SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is likely tomorrow.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister hailed the Left parties position that they do not favour disruption of the House but want discussion on price rise and other important issues.
He said that Acharia and Dasgupta have given notices seeking discussion on the Finance Minister's statement.
BJP has also announced plans to bring an adjournment motion on the issue of black money on Thursday, an issue on which it expects Left's backing.
Bansal said government would try to reach out to the BJP so that the discussion on black money could be conducted under a rule that does not not entail voting.
Government sources said that Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj suggested at the BAC meeting that she would not push for an adjounment motion on the price rise issue.
Bansal noted that there have been two rulings by the Speaker in the last one year against an adjournment motion on the price rise, giving detailed reasons why such motions cannot be accepted.
Yechury had earlier said that the Left would insist on their adjournment motion, contending that the 14th Lok Sabha had witnessed eight such motions while the current House none.
CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia had given an adjournment notice in the Lok Sabha, while a notice on the issue under Rule 168, which entails voting, would be given by the Left parties in Rajya Sabha tomorrow, Yechury had said.
Yechury said discussions on the price situation have been held in the past two sessions and unanimous resolutions passed earlier “calling upon the government to take all measures to protect the common man”.
“But no action has been initiated so far. Food inflation has risen to 12 per cent and the overall inflation rate is escalating exponentially”, he said.
As steps to check rising prices, the Left parties are demanding an end to deregulation of petroleum prices, rollback of the hikes in petrol prices, ban on forward and speculative trading on all essential commodities and universalisation of the public distribution system.
BJP leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha rubbished Mukherjee's 11-page statement on price rise tabled in the Lok sabha today. Sinha said “we dismiss the Finance Minister's statement...we are not satisfied with the government's excuses on price rise and inflation.”
“What concerns us is that the common man will not tolerate the continued price rise in the country. We will not be surprised that rising inflation will become a reason for them to resort to violence,” said Sinha.