Budget session: Speaker holds all-party meet

Meira Kumar is expected to urge the leaders for restoration of normalcy in Parliament functioning.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is holding an all-party meet, a day before the commencement of the Budget session of Parliament.

Reports claim that the leaders will discuss the constitution of the Joint Parliamentrary Committee (JPC).

The speaker is holding a customary luncheon meeting here with the leaders of various parties today where she is expected to urge them for restoration of normalcy in Parliament functioning.

The government will in a day or two take a decision on the issue of a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scandal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal told reporters at a pre-session press conference here on Friday.

However, political circles say the government has already agreed to form a JPC.

Meira Kumar and leaders of various parties hope that the Budget session will sail smoothly unlike the stormy winter session that was washed away in the loud protests over corruption scandals.

"I am very optimistic. I feel there is a consensus among party leaders that Parliament should function smoothly," Meira Kumar said.

The 23-day winter session in November-December last year was virtually washed out as the opposition party members persistently protested, demanding the JPC on 2G spectrum scam.

Research groups have calculated that the national exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 171 crore due to the disruption of parliamentary work in the winter session.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, a known trouble-shooter for the government, indicated at an all-party meeting February 08 that the government was now ready for a JPC.

He is reported to have told some party leaders that the government was ready to pay any price for smooth conduct of Parliament.

The opposition has also demanded JPC probes into the Commonwealth Games scandal and the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

Bansal ruled out JPCs into other scandals. "They (the opposition leaders) know that the JPC is constituted only to look into one issue," he said.

Even the BJP, which led the protests in the winter session, is hopeful of a normal budget session.

"We are optimistic that the government will announce a JPC at the outset and help conduct the session. We will play the role of a constructive opposition," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

However, she cautioned that the party will take up other scandals. "We will take up the Commonwealth Games scam, Adarsh scam."

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader P Karunakaran said there would be protests in the budget session too. "We will corner the government over the issues of price rise and the plight of the poor," Karnuanakaran said.

While the political leaders look forward to a fruitful budget session, the `aam admi` (ordinary people) is least interested in the goings-on.

The six-week budget session is scheduled to take up 62 bills, other than dealing with the main financial business - presentation, discussion and passage of the general budget and the railway budget.

The session will conclude on April 21 with a break from March 17 to April 03.

Political pundits and policy analysts are waiting to see how the Budget session goes off.

"If the Budget session is disrupted seriously, the image of India`s democracy - the largest in the world - will get a hit," said political analyst Yogesh Vajpeyi.

(With IANS inputs)

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