Wednesday, February 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Stormy Budget session likely
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 22 — The government is likely to face rough weather in the Budget session of Parliament beginning tomorrow with the Opposition, led by the Congress, issuing a warning that it would create a ruckus over the Kandahar hijack imbroglio, the review of the Constitution, the alleged “saffronisation” plans of the Gujarat Government and the proposed “harsh” Budgets.

The President, Mr K. R. Narayanan’s customary joint address to Parliament tomorrow would set the ball rolling for what is expected to be a 54-day stormy session. The President’s speech, cleared by the Cabinet, would be a clear indicator of the government’s policies.

The mega event of the next session would be the presentation of the Railway Budget on February 25 and the general Budget on February 29. The Economic Survey, which is a report card on the economy, would also be released before the Union Budget.

The session will break for a recess between March 17 and April 16 when the various standing committees would scrutinise the detailed demands for grants of various ministries. The session is likely to last till May 17.

The government’s decision to go ahead with the proposed review of the Constitution and the setting up of the commission has not been taken well by opposition parties despite disclaimers that the review would not alter the parliamentary democracy nor the basic structure.

The Congress, Left and many others in the Opposition see in it an attempt by the BJP and the Sangh Parivar to implement a “hidden agenda”, including an attempt to perpetuate itself in power for five years without a majority.

However, the ruling party and its allies have rejected all these apprehensions saying that the review was only aimed at toning up the Constitution in the light of its functioning in the past 50 years.

The controversy over Deepa Mehta’s film “Water” and the Indian Council of Historical Research’s (ICHR) decision to discontinue two volumes of “Towards Freedom” is also high on the agenda of the Opposition.

The Subramanyam report, which probed the Kargil intrusions, is also likely to be tabled during the session.

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