Govt gears up to face debate on intolerance

Govt gears up to face debate on intolerance

First 2 days of session to focus on Constitution Day

Govt gears up to face debate on intolerance

The Modi government is bracing to face flak from the Opposition over rising incidents of intolerance when Parliament meets for the winter session from Thursday.

The first two days of the winter session would be dedicated to the commemoration of the Constitution Day and celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar.

 The broad topic listed for discussion – ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution’ – has given enough scope to the opposition to come out all guns blazing to pin down the Modi government on the intolerance debate.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu got a sense of the opposition mood at an all party meeting convened by him on Wednesday. He conceded the opposition demand on having a discussion on intolerance in Parliament.

“Party leaders, MLAs, MPs, ministers, the political relatives of the BJP and even Governors have made controversial statements, but there is no action against a single person. This shows that the government too is intolerant,” Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters here. Opposition leaders said the two-day discussion on the Constitution would be a virtual censure motion against the Modi government.

At the meeting convened by Naidu, the opposition insisted that both Houses of Parliament adopt resolutions, the wording of which should be decided by consensus among political leaders.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said his notice to move a resolution condemning intolerance and communal polarisation has been accepted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who dropped by at the meeting convened by Naidu, assured the opposition that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would reach out to them to address their concerns on the GST.

Modi’s offer to have Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar brief the opposition on the Paris climate summit is also seen as the government attempt to adopt an inclusive approach to governance, particularly after the severe drubbing the BJP received in the Bihar Assembly elections.