New Delhi: The Budget Session of Parliament that begins today is set for a stormy start as the opposition Congress said that it would not shy away from raising the JNU issue along with Rohith Vemula's suicide, the Jat agitations and the Pathankot attack in the House.
The Lok Sabha Speaker on Monday called an all-party meeting to seek a path forward to ensure that the coming session does not fall prey to protests holding legislative business to ransom.
"The government is committed to uphold the Constitution in letter and spirit and firmly believes in peace, unity and integration of the nation as the key operational principles for delivering on the development promised to the people," Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said after the all-party meeting.
On the other hand, Congress has also made it clear that it would not fall short of attacking the government on issues that it feels need debate. The fate of the Goods and Services Tax Bill, which has been stuck for parliamentary approval for a long time, remains unclear as the opposition parties are pressing the government to debate the JNU issue before legislative business begins in Parliament.
The Congress Working Committee met on Monday and indications are that this session is going to be no different from the others. Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that democratic and liberal values were under severe assault under the present government.
“Contrary to what the government has been saying, let me once and for all make it absolutely clear—we want Parliament to function, to legislate. The problem is not with us, it is with the government which refuses to accept that the democratic right of the Opposition is to raise burning public issues for debate and discussion. It is the government's responsibility to ensure that Parliament functions,” she said.
A statement issued by the party later faulted the government for having started a “totally manufactured debate on patriotism and nationalism through manipulated news-clips to cover up” for its failures.
“The Congress party will, in cooperation with other like-minded parties, raise these and other issues when Parliament begins,” a statement issued by the Congress on the CWC meeting said.
While the Centre has said it will counter all such allegations, it has already agreed to the opposition's demand for a debate on the issue, saying it is in favour of bringing the truth on the matter in front of the country and also clear the way forward. However, the Congress appears to be in no mood to relent.
"The Congress will play its role of a constructive opposition, but the responsibility of running the parliament depends on the government. It is the government's mentality that is responsible for disruptions,” the Congress statement reads.
Meanwhile, regional parties like the Akali Dal, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Janata Dal (United) have urged the Congress to let the houses function. The last several parliament sessions have been completely washed out by protests by opposition parties.