Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for cooperation among all political parties at the all-party meet ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament which begins on Tuesday.
After the Winter Session was washed out due to protests over demonetisation, PM Modi reached out to the opposition seeking their support.
Speaking to reporters, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that during the meeting Prime Minister Modi sought support of all parties and said “in election time, there can be some differences among us, but Parliament is mahapanchayat. It should function.”
Kumar also added that all parties responded positively and said that they want the House to function smoothly.
All major parties attended the crucial meet called by the government except Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. TMC decided to skip meet and also the presentation of the union budget in Parliament to protest the government’s demonetisation move and the arrest of TMC MPs in chit fund cases.
The government asserted that the Budget will be presented as scheduled, rejecting the opposition’s allegations that it will impact the upcoming assembly elections.
The Opposition had alleged that government had advanced the session only to push for an early presentation of the Union Budget. This, the Opposition said, will impact the level playing field during upcoming state assembly elections.
“We have asked the government that they should avoid any such announcement in the budget session which affects level playing field in the five state assembly elections,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after attending the meeting.
Azad also citied a similar situation in 2012 when the then UPA government had postponed the budget session due to state assembly elections.
The Congress leader has also asked the government to call another all-party meeting before next part of budget session.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and CPI(M) leader Sitram Yechury demanded a discussion on demonetisation in the first phase of session.
“We have told the government that there should be discussion on demonetisation for two days as the people across India have suffered due to this irrational move of the government,” Yechury told reporters.
(With inputs from PTI)