Opposition parties push for law guaranteeing MSP
The Opposition parties on Sunday pushed for a law guaranteeing a minimum support price for each farm produce and demanded discussions on the Pegasus snooping row, fuel prices and unemployment during the winter session of Parliament, beginning Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not attend the customary pre-session, all-party meeting convened by the government.
Defence minister and deputy leader of the Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh sought cooperation from all parties for smooth and productive functioning of the House.
He said the government was ready for discussions on any issue that the Lok Sabha speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman allow under House rules.
After the meeting, attended by 31 parties, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters the leaders present had demanded immediate action on enacting a legal guarantee on MSPs.
He said demands were also made for compensation to the families of the farmers who died during the protest against three central farm laws.
Kharge said the parties also broached the rising prices of petrol and diesel and the tensions with China at the Line of Actual Control.
He said the parties had expected the Prime Minister to attend the meeting. They wanted to ask about the farm laws that are to be repealed as there are fears that these might be brought back in some other form, Kharge said.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said tradition did not necessarily require the Prime Minister to attend the all-party meeting.
Kharge said the parties would cooperate with the government on issues of public interest.
Some Opposition leaders also raised the subject of the extension of the BSF’s area of jurisdiction in some states, including Bengal.
Trinamul leaders Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien spoke on the issues of an MSP law and the divestment of profitable public sector units.
The Aam Aadmi Party walked out of the meeting. AAP leader Sanjay Singh said he had walked out because he was not being allowed to speak on issues related to farmers, especially on the demand for a law guaranteeing MSPs.
Several parties such as Trinamul, the YSR Congress and the DMK demanded that the women’s reservation bill be taken up during the winter session, sources said.
The 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14) has been unable to pass the bill which, pending in the House since 2010, lapsed following the House’s dissolution in 2014.
Among the Opposition leaders at the meeting were Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Anand Sharma (Congress); T.R. Baalu and Tiruchi Siva (DMK); Sharad Pawar (NCP); Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena); Ramgopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party); Satish Mishra (Bahujan Samaj Party); Prasanna Acharya (Biju Janata Dal); and Farooq Abdullah (National Conference).
Apart from Rajnath and Joshi, the government was represented by Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V. Muraleedharan.
The winter session of Parliament is to conclude on December 23.