Ready for debate on Manipur in Parliament, says Pralhad Joshi

New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Wednesday said the government was ready for a discussion on the situation in Manipur during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, but termed a “caveat for disruption” the opposition’s demand for a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

Speaking to reporters after a customary all-party meeting before the commencement of the session on Thursday, Joshi made it clear the Union Home Ministry was the nodal ministry on the issue of the northeastern state.

Opposition parties have been insisting on a statement by the prime minister in Parliament on the situation in Manipur where ethnic violence triggered by a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ on May 3 has claimed more than 150 lives.

“All parties have been demanding a discussion on Manipur. The government is ready for a discussion on Manipur whenever the Rajya Sabha Chairman and Lok Sabha Speaker decide a date and time,” Joshi said after the meeting chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Asked about the opposition demand for a statement by the prime minister, Joshi said when the government has agreed for a discussion, then raising issues that the prime minister should come is like putting a caveat for creating disruption in Parliament.

Apart from demanding a statement by the prime minister, opposition members have also been pressing for the withdrawal of the Delhi Services ordinance, discussion on issues related to Karnataka food security, the Enforcement Directorate action against Tamil Nadu ministers, price rise, train accident at Balasore and challenges on the border.

“We want to bring an adjournment motion (for discussion) tomorrow (Thursday) as the situation in Manipur is deteriorating,” Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.

“We do not understand the silence of the Prime Minister on the Manipur issue. At least he could have issued an appeal for peace,” Pramod Tewari, Deputy Leader of Congress in the Rajya Sabha, told reporters here.

Tewari also urged the BJP not to disrupt the Parliament proceedings and allow the House to function.

BJD member Sasmit Patra said the party pitched for parliamentary nod for women reservation in legislatures and also special category status for Odisha. YSR Congress and Bharat Rashtra Samithi also wanted the Women’s Reservation Bill to be passed by Parliament.

Shiv Sena leader Rahul Shewale hoped that the government would bring a bill in Parliament on introducing a Uniform Civil Code in the country.

“We are hopeful that the government will bring a bill on Uniform Civil Code in Parliament soon,” Shewale said, adding that the legislative measure was the dream of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray.

However, Indian Union Muslim League leader E T Mohammad Basheer asked the government to desist on any move on the UCC.

Basheer said the 21st Law Commission in its report had said the UCC was ‘neither necessary nor desirable at this moment’.

Joshi said the government has listed 31 bills for the session which will have 17 sittings before it concludes on August 11.