New Delhi: With the Opposition all set to corner the Narendra Modi government over 'Lalitgate' and the Vyapam scam issue, an all-party meet, called by the Centre a day ahead of the commencement of Monsoon session to work out a strategy to ensure the smooth functioning of the Parliament, was held on Monday. The meeting was convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu.
While speaking at the all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: "We should move forward on land bill."
Urging the leaders of all political parties for cooperation during the Monsoon session, PM Modi noted, "The government has to take initiative and responsibility to run Parliament, but this responsibility has to be shared by all."
The PM assured that the government was ready to discuss all issues on the floor of the House. "Parliament has a major significance and it should be utilised to discuss all issues," PM Modi asserted.
Reiterating PM's statement Naidu said that the government is ready to discuss issues that the opposition wants to raise, but at the same time stressed that the Parliament is sovereign and there is no question of accepting any ultimatum by the opposition.
The meeting was attended by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, Janata Dal-United's Sharad Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party's Satish Mishra and CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury among others.
Speaking to reporters after the all-party meet, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said his party was not happy with the amendment in Land Acquisition Bill and it will continue to oppose it.
The Monsoon session of Parliament is expected to be a stormy affair as the Congress and many other opposition parties have joined hands to take on the BJP government over various issues including the Vyapam recruitment scam and the controversy over former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has also called an all-party meet, which would be held later today.
Besides pressing for removal of Union ministers Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani, Opposition parties have indicated that they would raise the issue of scams and controversies allegedly involving BJP chief ministers - Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh - and demand their resignations.
Significantly, PM Modi has called for the maiden meet of all NDA constituents today to chalk out a strategy to aggressively take on the opponents.
Sensing the Opposition heat awaiting his government in Parliament, Modi had acknowledged on Friday that there will be a 'muqabla' (contest).
Bracing for the Opposition onslaught in Parliament, government and the ruling BJP decided to aggressively counter the attack on its leaders like Swaraj, Raje and Chouhan and rake up controversies that involved some Congress leaders.
BJP president Amit Shah held strategy meetings with various party colleagues, including Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Swaraj, Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal as well as party spokespersons during which Raje was also present.
Subsequently, Shah, along with Jaitley and other senior leaders and union ministers like Rajnath Singh and Naidu met PM Modi to fine-tune the strategy.
The government's floor managers conceded Monsoon Session could be stormy. In the last Lok Sabha, an entire session was washed out over the Opposition's demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee in the 2G scam.
While the BJP-led NDA commands an absolute majority in Lok Sabha, it lacks numbers in the Upper House where Congress is the largest party and holds key to the passage of the crucial legislations, including GST and land bill.
Senior NDA ministers had on Thursday held a meeting to chalk out the strategy for pushing the government's legislative business in view of the Opposition parties closing ranks on various issues.
The government has finalised 35 items of business for the Monsoon session, which included nine bills pending in Rajya Sabha and four pending in Lok Sabha, besides introduction of 11 new bills.