Govt reaches out to BJP for smooth budget session

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Mar 12: The Congress-led UPA Government reached out to the Opposition ahead of crucial financial business including the general and the railway budgets in Parliament.

Leader of the Lok Sabha and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held a 45-minute meeting with top BJP leaders to seek their support for smooth functioning of the Session, which will break for recess on Mar 30.

The meeting was attended by senior BJP leader L K Advani and Leaders of Opposition in both the Houses Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Yashwant Sinha, besides Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal. The government, which is scrambling for numbers in the Rajya Sabha, is learnt to have requested the BJP leaders to support it in the passage of important legislations and financial business.

The controversial Lokpal Bill, pending in the Rajya Sabha, is expected to create a lot of ruckus, as in the Winter Session. Arun Jaitley today said the BJP would demand that the Bill be taken up first. Mukherjee and Bansal told BJP leaders that due to the rail and general budgets, government would not be in a position to bring other important legislations during the pre-recess period of the Session.

The government sought the main opposition party's support in smooth passage of the The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which has a deadline of Mar 31 after India signed an international treaty.

Another such Bill which has international ramifications is The Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which is also required to be passed soon in view of India being a signatory to international treaties.

PTI 

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