Union minister to reach out to Opposition leaders to break Parliament logjam

Goel said he will be visiting key leaders of opposition parties, including the Congress, AIADMK, TDP and TRS, to persuade them to call off their protests, which have resulted in a washout of Parliament's proceedings since March 5

PTI March 22, 2018 15:33:48 IST
Union minister to reach out to Opposition leaders to break Parliament logjam

New Delhi: Union minister Vijay Goel will meet key Opposition leaders at their residence in an effort to break the logjam in Parliament, which has been paralysed for 14 days due to protests by various parties.

The government is willing for a discussion on no-confidence motions against it and enjoys a strong majority in the Lok Sabha, Goel, who is Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, said on Thursday, wondering why the Opposition leaders were debating on television and not in the House.

Union minister to reach out to Opposition leaders to break Parliament logjam

File image of Vijay Goel. PTI

Goel said he will be visiting key leaders of Opposition parties, including the Congress, AIADMK, TDP and TRS, to persuade them to call off their protests, which have resulted in a washout of Parliament's proceedings since 5 March when it met after a recess to continue the Budget session.

At a press conference, Goel noted that over Rs 2.5 lakh is spent per minute in running Parliament, and asked Opposition parties to raise their issues and debate them in the two Houses.

The second leg of the Budget Session is of 23 days and all 14 days so far have been wasted, Goel said.

"I have been meeting Opposition leaders in Parliament and will now visit their homes to persuade them to call off their protests and start discussion on their issues" in the two Houses, he said.

On issues like the PNB scam, the government has more to tell the people than the Opposition, he claimed and said the Modi government has been an honest dispensation which has worked against corruption.

"Parliament is meant for debate. It is sad that Opposition leaders can debate outside and on TV channels but not in Parliament. It is also strange for some of them to keep protesting in the Well of the two Houses and then say that it is the government's job to run them," he said.

Arjun Ram Meghwal, who is also a junior minister for parliamentary affairs, said it is difficult for the Speaker to take up notices for no-confidence motions as long as members are present in the Well as she is required to do a head-count of members supporting the notices.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress have given notices for no confidence motion against the government following the Centre's stand that it cannot provide special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Several parties have been protesting in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha over various of issues such as banking scam, Cauvery board, special status to Andhra Pradesh and quota hike, leading to daily adjournments.

A large number of bills, including on triple talaq, whistleblower protection and OBC Commission, are pending in Parliament. The Lok Sabha passed the crucial Finance Bill without any discussion. A couple of other bills have also been pushed in the two houses amid the din.

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