New Delhi, Jan 30: During the all-party meeting in the Parliament on Saturday, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present, Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay tore into the BJP, saying that several opposition parties boycotting President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the Parliament on Friday was a strong message to withdraw the three Central farm laws.
Earlier during the meeting, Modi had said that the government still stood by the proposal given to the protesting farmers of suspending the three farm laws for 18 months. The Prime Minister assured that the government is approaching the farmers’ issue with an open mind.
Modi said, “The government’s stand is the same as it was during the meeting on January 22 – the proposal made by the Union Agriculture Minister still stands.”
Bandyopadhyay said, “Several opposition parties boycotted President’s address. It is a strong message for the government to withdraw the farm laws.”
Along with the Congress, 17 opposition parties had announced to boycott the President’s address on Friday to express their solidarity with the farmers who have been protesting against the three Central farm laws since November 26 on the borders of Delhi and in other parts of the country.
Bandyopadhyay also said that the Prime Minister must convene a meeting of all the party leaders and discuss the matter. “That will be a good message to show that the government is democratic,” he said.
Referring to Kovind’s remarks during his address on Friday, the Trinamool leader said that the standing committee on food and consumer affairs and public distribution is discussing the ‘one nation-one ration card’ policy, and the report is yet to be submitted.
“But we were surprised when the President said that the policy has already been introduced. This has to be clarified – the committee had taken it up with all priority just 15 days back,” he said.
He also raised the issue of unemployment and said that the hungry youth are fighting and they must be shown a path. “Let us hold a comprehensive debate in the House over the issue,” he said.
The Trinamool MP further said that the philosophy of our federal structure system needs a thorough review.
“Our parliamentary democratic system has to be established firmly and the philosophy of secularism, communal harmony and unity of the country has to be reflected in a proper manner,” Bandyopadhyay said.
During the meeting, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Pinaki Mishra demanded to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Budget Session, which has been pending for long.
“Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has specifically requested the Central government to get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in this Budget Session,” he said.
The BJD gave 7 out of 21 MP tickets to women in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he said, adding that five of them won the elections. “Therefore, Patnaik is happy that Odisha is the only state in the country to have one third women MPs in the Lok Sabha,” Mishra said.
He said that both the BJP and the Congress have publicly backed the Women’s Reservation Bill along with a number of political parties, including the YSR Congress Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
“It should not be a problem to pass the bill in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha had passed it almost 10 years back. Therefore, Patnaik feels that the time has come for the Lok Sabha to pass the bill,” Mishra said.