M A I N   N E W S

PM ready for debate on ‘tainted’ ministers
Govt going the Hitler way, says Opposition
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
With the Budget session beginning tomorrow likely to be stormy, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today appealed to the Opposition to ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament and expressed his readiness to debate all issues, including “tainted” ministers.

An unrelenting opposition, however, charged the government with failing to take any initiative to resolve the impasse on the issue which had led to the stalling of proceedings of Parliament during the brief session last month.

The Prime Minister told reporters after a meeting of leaders of political parties convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee that regardless of political differences, Parliament should be allowed to function smoothly.

“The government is willing to discuss whatever bothers the Opposition. We seek the cooperation of the opposition. I appeal to all political parties that regardless of our differences we should respect the great institution of Parliament and it should be allowed to function smoothly,” Dr Singh said.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who spoke to Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani over telephone yesterday, said he was keen to meet Mr Advani today but could not do so as the former Deputy Prime Minister was in Ahmedabad.

He did not comment on the remarks by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the removal of Governors. He, however, said remarks by the BJP on the issue were not correct.

The Lok Sabha Speaker also appealed to all parties to ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament but there appeared no end in sight to the deadlock over the issue of “tainted” ministers and the removal of Governors.

BJP Deputy leader V.K. Malhotra accused the Congress-led coalition of working in a “fascist” manner and showing “Hitler-like” tendencies.

He said the government had not come forward with any formula to resolve the issue of “tainted ministers” and had aggravated the situation by sacking the Governors.

Asked if his party will allow the smooth functioning of the House, Mr Malhotra said the NDA leaders would meet tomorrow to chalk out their strategy in Parliament.

He said the minorities conference, organised by the Human Resource Development Ministry, was a government function but the main opposition party was not invited.

To a question on the issues that would be raised by the BJP, he said “it depends on whether the House functions.’’

However, the BJP leader said the party would like to raise the issues of train dacoities, the Amarnath yatra, farmers’ suicide, tainted ministers, sacking of Governors and the revision of text books.

There were indications that the BJP-led NDA may boycott the presentation of the Railway Budget on July 6 as Railway Minister Laloo Prasad is the prime target of its attack on “tainted” ministers.

The Budget session, spread over 30 sittings, is also likely to witness a fresh battle between the ruling UPA and NDA on the issue of election of a new Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha with Congress ruling out renomination of Ms Najma Heptullah who has joined the BJP.

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