Protests Over Price Rise in Parliament and Outside
New Delhi – The new government today confronted sharp protests over price rise in Parliament and outside, on the first day of the Budget session. There was no Question Hour in either House with the Opposition closing ranks demanding discussions on rising cost of essentials. (Live Blog)
Slogan-shouting almost drowned proceedings as both Houses began. A discussion is being held in the Rajya Sabha, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also leader of the House, agreeing to question hour being set aside to debate the rise in prices.
The government has now agreed for a discussion in the Lok Sabha too, but without voting, after the Lower House witnessed two adjournments following chaos by Opposition members. Two and half hours have been allotted to debate the issue of price rise today.
As Congress activists protested a kilometre away in Jantar Mantar, senior party leader Kamal Nath said, “This government talked about Achhe Din (good days). It will be exposed.”
The Narendra Modi government has a brute majority in the Lok Sabha, but is at a disadvantage on numbers in the Rajya Sabha and can ill-afford to have the Opposition unite on key issues. Bills have to be passed by both Houses to become law.
This morning, various opposition parties had indicated that they would attack the government on price rise. “Instead of ‘achhe din’, ‘mehenge din’ have come,” said the BSP’s Mayawati.
“The priority for the government is to pass the Rail Budget and the General Budget by July 31, before the interim Budgets expire,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu told NDTV earlier, adding, “We are ready to discuss each and everything… if they want to have discussion (on price rise) it will boomerang on them.”
The BJP alleges that the current economic problems are of the previous Congress-led UPA government’s making. “We have inherited a bad economic situation,” Mr Naidu said, hinting at tough measures when he said, “We’ll take bold steps if necessary.”