Smarting from the Bihar poll debacle, the central government Monday reached out to the Opposition to pass key reform Bills and urged them to not interpret the poll result as a “mandate to disrupt Parliament”, which is set to meet for its Winter Session between November 26 and December 23.
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh also decided to call a special two-day sitting of Parliament on the first two days of the session to commemorate the adoption of the Indian Constitution on November 26, 1949, and honour its architect, Dalit icon BR Ambedkar.
“Since we are celebrating the birth centenary of Ambedkar ji, we have decided we will be discussing in Parliament the commitment to the Constitution and the contribution of Ambedkar to it. Hence, there will be no Question Hour in the House on the first two days,” Naidu said.
The decision comes at a time when the government is under attack from academicians and intellectuals on the issue of “intolerance”.
Meanwhile, talking about the Bihar Assembly poll results, Naidu said while he welcomes the popular mandate, he is “disturbed” by media reports that opposition parties in Parliament will now be more emboldened to unite and stall the government’s Parliamentary agenda for the winter session.
“All concerned need to understand the Bihar verdict in the right perspective. People of Bihar want development just like people in the other states. To realise rapid economic growth, we need to have the right environment in place, which requires considered reforms.
“To interpret Bihar verdict in any other manner only amounts to questioning the wisdom of the people of the state. All parties have to understand it and enable Parliament to pass the reform measures. Bihar verdict is a clear statement of people’s aspirations. It should not be interpreted as a mandate to obstruct Parliament,” Naidu said.
Noting that Opposition parties may have some issue, Naidu said the government is willing to walk the “extra mile” to accommodate them.
Asked about Congress’s insistence on seven amendments in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, he said that can be discussed in the House.
Asked about the Opposition likely raking up the “intolerance” issue, he advised them to show “tolerance” by allowing a debate on it in Parliament, instead of protesting outside.
Talking about the Bihar polls, Naidu projected it as an event whose impact is localised. The Bihar result reflects the mood of the people in that state and “not the national mood”, he said.
“It would be wrong to see the Bihar verdict as reflecting the mood of the nation. Assembly elections are based on local factors and situations and social arithmetic has gone in favor of BJP’s opponents.
“People have given their mandate on a local level and we have accepted that,” he said, adding that his party would analyse the results in detail and move forward.
The minister said Sunday’s election result should be propelling all parties into constructive cooperation in the larger interest of Bihar and other states that make India.
Replying to questions, he said that the measures for introduction of GST and Real Estate Regulator were initiated long back and needed to be taken to their logical conclusion given the benefits that flow.
Opposition parties may have some concerns and the government is always willing to sit with them and address them. “This has been our approach since assumption of office last year,” he said.
“We will consult them. The GST bill was originally brought by the Congress. Various concerns have been taken on board since then. It has undergone a sea change. Any further suggestion has to be discussed on the basis of merit. What is necessary will be done as per the parliamentary practice,” Naidu said.