NEW DELHI: A day after the regional parties trounced the Congress in four states Assembly elections, the smaller parties flexed their muscles at a meeting of the chief whips demanding more time from the beleaguered government to raise various issues in both houses of the Parliament.
On the eve of the Budget session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal convened the meeting of chief whips of various political parties to seek their cooperation in the smooth functioning of the House. Instead of assurance, he got a curtain raiser of what might follow, the small parties’ assertions. The chief whips of various smaller parties, like Akali Dal, BJD, TDP, AGP, complained that their members were not getting proper time to raise ‘the burning issues of their respective regions’ or to participate in debates in the Parliament.
Already on the back-foot after the poll debacle, Bansal is understood to have assured the political parties that he would take up the issue with the presiding officers and try to accommodate all the members irrespective of their party strength in the Parliament.
Ironically, the Akali Dal, which created history in Punjab by winning a never-before second term overcoming an anti-incumbency factor, raised the issue of ‘paid news’ in the meeting of the chief whips.
Sources said that most of the participants have supported the concerns expressed by the Akalis and demanded the government allot time for a proper discussion on the issue.