Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Congress hopes to get parliament going, winning over the Left and hoping to win over BJP

A Congress leader in government said that an understanding was being worked out with the Left parties so that they would not insist on an adjournment motion to discuss price rise but would use the written statement of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on the economic situation to discuss the issue. It could be a discussion under Rule 193 of the House which provides for discussion without voting. Similarly, government hopes that the BJP too will help in running the House because that was a strong assurance the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had given. The BJP demand is for a discussion on black money stashed away in foreign banks and the party too wants to move an adjournment motion.

Congress as always goes in for technical escape routes and says that an adjournment motion is not the appropriate mode for either a discussion on price rise or on black money. The adjournment motion is inappropriate for price rise because there are some prices, for example the price of milk in Tamil Nadu, over which the central government has no control. Similarly, the black money issue cannot be discussed under an adjournment motion because government would not be able to give assurances which would endanger further flow of vital information from foreign governments.

A Congress minister said that much work has been done with the names of Indians holding illegal accounts. Government had managed to tax those accounts and even collect the tax money. The names can only be made public only when those account holders are to be prosecuted under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

On the other hand, the Left parties do not want to let the government off the hook. Communist Party of India's Gurudas Das Gupta had said, "We do not want to boycott Chidambaram. We want to expose him in the House." There is some sort of floor coordination between the BJP and the communist parties, something that the communists would not want to be seen as doing. The Reds would pretend to be dead rather than cooperate with the Saffronites. The BJP on the other hand is only too happy to work along with the communist parties against the Congress. The BJP and the communists had worked together against the Congress in 1977, in 1989.

The Congress believes that both the BJP and the communists would help in letting parliament function.

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