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Chill likely to freeze budget session too
December, 13th 2010

A frozen winter session of Parliament ends on Monday amid indications of a further chill in government-Opposition relations. The face-off between the two sides, which has brought parliamentary proceedings to a standstill, engulfing an entire session for the first-time ever, will now play out in the streets and may even extend to the budget session, which begins in February.

The blame game has already intensified. The BJP targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying he made no effort at resolving the impasse over a united Opposition demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scandal. The BJP said his government's "stubborn" stand against JPC was responsible for the logjam in the winter session.

"The prime minister has spoken on the parliament impasse outside the country. He never made an attempt to resolve the issue when he was in Delhi and never opened his mouth in parliament on the issue," BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters here on Sunday.

Hussain was reacting to prime minister's statement - made during an informal talk with journalists on board a special flight from Brussels to Berlin - that he was "very sad" that Parliament was not functioning. While rejecting the JPC demand, the PM also said he was "worried" over the future of parliamentary system in India. The BJP had on Friday criticised Mr Singh for his "silence" on the issue and said he had lost the will to rule.

Hussain said the UPA government was "the most corrupt" and parliament was disrupted over corruption in 2G Spectrum and the Commonwealth Games and the Adarsh housing scam.

"After parliament session is over, we will take this fight to the streets and when the budget session resumes, we will continue the protest," he said. Such a scenario would be a cause of concern for the government, which has managed to pass only some crucial financial business in the winter session.

The Opposition's first protest action will be held in the parliament premises on Monday morning after both houses complete the formality of expressing their condolences to those who lost their lives in the parliament attack on December 13, 2002.

As the Opposition gears up to take its battle for JPC to the streets, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will meet party MPs on Monday to chalk out the party's counter strategy. The issue is also expected to figure at the Congress plenary, to be held here on December 18.

The NDA has announced plans to hold a rally against corruption at the Ram Lila Maidan in the Capital on December 22. Non-NDA, non-Congress opposition parties are also planning out their protest strategy. Though the NDA failed to get on board the entire Opposition for a joint campaign, the timing of the protest actions could coincide.

 
 
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