Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there should be crackdown on cow vigilantes and pointed out that law and order was a state subject
NEW DELHI: The government today met all political parties, a day ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament where it is preparing to face a united opposition – a bloc of 18 parties – on a host of issues including the landmark Goods and Services Tax. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the meeting, spoke out against cow vigilantism again at the meeting, saying the states should take action against them. He also thanked the parties for support on the flagship Goods and Services Tax, which was rolled out two weeks ago.
- PM Modi said there is an “attempt to give communal colour to cow vigilantism and other incidents and derive political mileage,” Union Minister Anant Kumar said after the meeting. Law and order being a state subject, the centre has already sent an advisory to the states regarding action against cow vigilantes, Mr Kumar said, quoting the Prime Minister.
- The Prime Minister also thanked all parties for the cooperation on the flagship Goods and Services tax and said “it was an excellent example of cooperative federalism,” Mr Kumar said.
- The Congress, which leads the opposition charge, said it will seek answers from the government in parliament over the ongoing border stand-off with China, the worsening situation in Kashmir and mob lynching incidents in the name of cow. “All the roads for talks have been closed by the government. Even ventilator is not open. There is political suffocation in Kashmir,” said senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
- Blaming Beijing for the stand-off at the Sikkim border, Mr Azad said, “It is a matter of country’s security and we will raise it in Parliament”. The opposition parties have decided to back the government on the stand-off with China at the Sikkim border, assuring the government that they would rise above politics on matters of national security.
- Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), which controversially broke from the Opposition to back the government’s candidate for President was not part of the meeting. Denying a boycott, senior party leader KC Tyagi said, “Sharad ji and other MPs are busy… so we could not attend the all-party meeting.”
- The Trinamool Congress, which has been involved in a blame-game with the BJP over the communal violence earlier this month in the North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal which it rules, boycotted the meeting.
- The beginning of the Monsoon session coincides with the Presidential election — a contest between ruling NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind and former Lok Sabha Speaker and Congress’s Meira Kumar, who was jointly fielded by 17 opposition parties.
- The BJP lawmakers are now holding a meeting to discuss the presidential election, which is also being attended by their Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. A meeting to decide the vice presidential candidate will be held tomorrow. This will be followed by a strategy session of the ruling NDA to counter the opposition in Parliament, during which PM Modi is expected to address the allies.
- Later in the evening, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has convened an all-party meeting, a customary affair where she is expected to seek cooperation for the smooth functioning of the House. At least 16 new bills are listed for introduction in parliament — including the implementation of GST in Jammu and Kashmir, and a bill to amend the Citizenship Act to allow certain illegal immigrants get Indian citizenship.
- Ahead of the session, 18 opposition parties arrived at a “broad agreement” to confront the government in Parliament on “five or six issues” including the impact of GST, PM Modi’s shock decision to ban high-denomination notes last year, and what they called the government’s “political vendetta” through criminal cases against opposition leaders like Lalu Yadav, whose home in Patna was raided a week ago.