Oppn set to confront govt in Parliament over ‘intolerance’

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the party leader Mallikarjun Kharge  in Lok Sabha during the second  day of winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday.  PTI Photo

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the party leader Mallikarjun Kharge in Lok Sabha during the second day of winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

The government is bracing up for a tough week in Parliament from Monday, with opposition parties giving a number of notices in both Houses seeking a debate on ‘intolerance’ in society and action against some ministers for their alleged provocative remarks.

In the Lok Sabha, CPI(M) member P Karunakaran and Congress MP K C Venugopal have submitted notices for a debate under rule 193, which does not entail voting or require suspension of business; it has been listed for Monday. Congress and JD(U) have given notices in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue after suspension of business under Rule 267.

The Congress’ notice has been moved by Deputy Leader of Opposition in the House Anand Sharma and the party plans to attack the government over alleged “orchestrated campaign to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation” and also raise issues like returning of awards by celebrated writers and others from the intelligensia. The notice by Sharma, which also seeks passing of a resolution by the House, condemns the “assault on the freedom of expression”.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has given a notice in Rajya Sabha seeking passage of a one-line resolution by the House condemning incidents of “intolerance” and asking the government to ensure that they do not happen again.

“The real confrontation will be there this week when the government brings its legislative agenda on the table. Congress, JD(U), CPI(M), CPI and Trinamool Congress have given separate notices to seek a discussion with and without voting, pass a resolution by the House and seek action against ministers making provocative speeches. Much depends on how the government responds to the opposition’s issues,” said a senior opposition party leader on condition of anonymity.

New Delhi: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury speaks in Rajya Sabha during winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury speaks in Rajya Sabha during winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi has given a separate notice under Rule 267 to discuss the issue and the party has decided to seek the resignation of five Union Ministers over their alleged provocative remarks.

At the all-party meeting held on November 25 in the backdrop of actor Aamir Khan’s remarks on “growing intolerance”, opposition parties had made a strong pitch for an early discussion on the issue, insisting that returning of awards by writers, artistes and filmmakers should not be taken lightly.

Six Left parties, including CPI(M), would also hold protests, both inside and outside the Parliament, on the “hate offensive” by BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits.

With most opposition parties keen on aggressively raising the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said though the government does not agree with their perception of rising intolerance it was “willing to go along with the opposition in this regard for a discussion in an appropriate manner”.

He had also contended that such incidents lie in the domain of the state governments, which are vested with responsibility to maintain law and order.

Amid the ‘intolerance’ debate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he proposes to put in place ‘Ek Bharat, Shresht Bharat’ scheme aimed at strengthening the country’s unity and harmony and invited suggestions in this regard.

“Internal vigilance is the prize of liberty. Unity of the nation — this culture should continue… On the occasion of Sardar Patel’s anniversary on October 31, I had talked about ‘Ek Bharat, Shresht Bharat (One India, Supreme India)’… I want to give ‘Ek Bharat, Shresht Bharat’ the shape of a scheme,” he said in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

In Lok Sabha, the matter has been listed for Monday, while in Rajya Sabha, it can happen any day in the week after the conclusion of the discussion on the “Commitment to India’s Constitution” as part of the 125th Birth Anniversary celebration of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar proposed by members of the CPI(M).

(With Inputs from the PTI)