Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 28
The Budget session of Parliament is expected to be off to a stormy start on Friday with 18 Opposition parties, including Shiromani Akali Dal, AAP and 16 led by Congress, set to boycott the President’s Address to both Houses to express solidarity with the protesting farmers.
The 16 parties, announcing their decision to boycott the President’s speech, accused the government of showing “insensitivity” to the demands of protesters. They sought repeal of farm laws in a joint statement and demanded an impartial investigation into the Centre’s “nefarious role in orchestrating the Republic Day events in the Capital” while accusing the government of attempting to discredit the farmers’ movement.
Akali Dal’s Naresh Gujral separately demanded the repeal of farm laws, saying the party had decided to boycott the Address of President Ram Nath Kovind to support the “legitimate demands of farmers”.
The Congress-led grouping, meanwhile, said farm laws were brought in without consultations and lacked national consensus.
“Parliamentary scrutiny was bypassed and the laws were pushed through muzzling the Opposition in a brazen violation of parliamentary rules, practices and conventions. The very constitutional validity of these laws is questionable. The Prime Minister and the BJP remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response. Shocked by this insensitivity, we reaffirm the collective demand for the repeal of the anti-farmer laws and have decided to boycott the President’s Address,” said the statement signed by opposition leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress; Sharad Pawar of the NCP; Farooq Abdullah of the NC; Derek O’ Brien and Sudeep Bandyopadhyay of the TMC; Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP; and Manoj Jha of the RJD.
The CPM, CPI, IUML, RSP, PDP, MDMK, Kerala Congress (M) and the AIUDF also joined the boycott decision of the Opposition and signed the statement.
Economic Survey to be tabled today
- Budget session begins on Friday with President’s Address to both Houses and tabling of Economic Survey
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to present Budget at 11 am on Feb 1
- Session to be in two parts — Jan 29 to Feb 15 and March 8 to April 8; 35 sittings in all