Government Under Attack in Parliament Over Price Rise

The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till noon amid slogan-shouting, half an hour after the Narendra Modi government's first Budget Session of Parliament convened today. The Opposition closed ranks demanding immediate discussions in both Houses on the issue of rise in prices of essentials. (Live Blog)

A discussion is about to begin in the Rajya Sabha, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also leader of house, agreeing to question hour being set aside to debate the rise in prices.  

"The opposition demands discussion on price rise on day one," said the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Malikarjun Kharge before Parliament convened. And the BSP's Mayawati said, demanding the Rajya Sabha discussion, "Instead of 'acche din', 'mehenge din' have come. We want a discussion on it in Rajya Sabha" said BSP chief Mayawati. 

"The priority for the government is to pass the Rail Budget and the General Budget by July 31, before the interim Budgets expire," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu told NDTV earlier, adding, "We are ready to discuss each and everything... if they want to have discussion (on price rise) it will boomerang on them."

The BJP alleges that the current economic problems are of the previous Congress-led UPA government's making. "We ave inherited a bad economic situation," Mr Naidu said, hinting at tough measures when he said, "We'll take bold steps if necessary." (Inherited a Very Bad Situation: Venkaiah Naidu to NDTV)

While the BJP-led NDA government has a big majority in the Lok Sabha, the worry for it is the Rajya Sabha, where it does not have the numbers and can ill-afford having the opposition unite on key issues. Bills have to be passed by both Houses to become law.

The Congress wants to secure the post of Leader of Opposition, for which it does not technically qualify with 44 MPs. But Mr Kharge said that issue "we will take up later."

Mr Naidu said the Congress had not brought up the demand yet, but did point out that the precedent stemmed from previous Nehru/Gandhi Congress regimes, which had no leaders of opposition. 

Apart from the Budget the government has lined up bills that have to be passed by Parliament soon because they were issued as ordinances. 

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