Budget 2021: Govt, Opposition set for major showdown
New Delhi, Jan 29: At least 17 opposition parties have announced that they will boycott the President's address to both Houses of Parliament.
The parties decided to stage a protest on the inaugural day in support of the farmers who are protesting against the three farm bills.
BSP supremo, Mayawati who had earlier said that her party will not take part in the boycott, later on changed her mind. The BSP will join the opposition ranks in the protest.
Parliamentary affairs minister, Prahlad Joshi said that the opposition must reconsider its decision. I appeal to all leaders from all parties not to boycott the President's address. The government is ready to discuss all issues threadbare, he also said.
Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla who will chair an all-party meeting later today said that the session will offer ample opportunity for MPs to raise issues. "This will be a long session with Question Hour and Zero Hour. The lawmakers will get enough opportunities to raise all issues. Disrupting the session will not benefit them," Birla said, pointing out that the debate on the President's address allows MPs to raise "any issue under the sun," he said.
This is for the first time in history that nearly the entire opposition will boycott the President's customary address to Parliament. "The PM and the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] government remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response (to farmers' protests). Shocked by this insensitivity of the Government, we, the following opposition political parties, reaffirming the collective demand for the repeal of the Anti Farmer Laws and in solidarity with the Indian Farmers, have decided to boycott the President's address to both the Houses of Parliament on Friday, January 29, 2021," a joint statement signed by all parties said.
"The three Farm Laws are an assault on the rights of the States and violate the federal spirit of the Constitution. If not repealed, these Laws will effectively dismantle the edifice of National Food Security that rests upon MSPs, [minimum support prices], government procurement and Public Distribution System (PDS)," the statement also said.