Cong raises Arunachal Governor issue at all-party meet

New Delhi, Feb 16: The controversial actions of Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa were today raised by Congress at the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, in this backdrop, the role of Governors could figure in the President's Address to the joint sitting to Parliament next week.

At the two-and-a-half-hour meeting in the Prime Minister's Office, parties like Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP and JDU emphasised that the upcoming Budget session should be allowed to function without any disruptions.

Cong raises Arunachal Governor issue

With regard to disruptions, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed strong objection to Modi's recent comment that "one family" is stalling the legislative work in Parliament, an apparent reference to Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, according to sources present in the meeting.

Azad and his party colleague Anand Sharma referred to Rajkhowa's actions, to which the Prime Minister is believed to have said that the role of Governors, past and present, is something that can be debated upon, the sources said.

He told the meeting that he had recently held a "frank" discussion with President Pranab Mukherjee on the issue of Governors' role, the sources said.

The issue of Governors might figure in the President's customary address to the joint sitting of Parliament on February 23, the first day of the Budget session, they said.

During the meeting, leader of NDA-constituent Akali Dal Naresh Gujral is learnt to have remarked that minorities are feeling "uneasy" in the country even though he praised the Prime Minister as well as his government, the sources said.

D Raja of CPI is believed to have said that the situation in the country is "scary" and the government should take action, the sources said.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien, while pressing for passage of the long-pending GST bill during the upcoming Parliament session, said BJP and Congress, whether while being in government or opposition, had wasted enough time.

With regard to the JNU issue, Congress and Left parties were together in objecting to the government action which was defended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who said there is a difference between "free speech and hate speech".

With regard to functioning of Parliament, leaders of Congress and CPI(M) made somewhat similar comments, according to the sources. While Azad said Parliament is the "mirror of the society", Mohd Saleem of CPI(M) remarked that Parliament is a "reflection of the society", the sources said.

Significantly, the Prime Minister was in a mood to chat and recalled his days as a BJP worker and then the party spokesperson. He spoke on the issue for about 10 minutes, said one of the leaders present. Modi, an avid user of social media, remarked that it was a useful tool for dissemination of information but now it is being abused.


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