NEW DELHI: Ahead of the likely stormy Budget session, the BJP held a meeting of NDA allies on Monday to chalk out a strategy to highlight the government’s pro-poor policies so they can take on the Opposition both inside and outside Parliament. It was also aimed at ensuring better coordination among partners as some had complained they were not being consulted on several issues.
BJP chief Amit Shah, senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu, Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and their party MPs attended the meeting at the residence of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu. As there has been concern among alliance partners over coordination, Shah will also hold one-to-one meetings with them. He will meet Akali Dal and TDP leaders on Tuesday.
As Punjab BJP leaders had already recommended that they break off the alliance with Akalis since the latter were unpopular and would harm the party in next year’s assembly polls, Shah could discuss the matter with Badal. Shiv Sena and Akali Dal raised the “lack of coordination” and noted there was better cohesion during the NDA regime headed by Vajpayee.
After the meeting, Naidu said, “It was decided we should highlight pro-poor, pro-farmer initiatives taken up by the government. Discussions were also held on issues that are likely to come up in coming session of Parliament.”
As the government will make a renewed push for the GST bill in Rajya Sabha, it wants the support of all its allies. Issues like Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, Malda violence and imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh were also deliberated upon.
It was suggested that a meeting of NDA MPs along the lines of the BJP parliamentary party meet be held so they could be informed about government initiatives. The AP CM said the NDA meeting should focus on larger issues concerning the nation and ideas to take it forward and not be confined to party-specific matters which, he added, should be dealt with in one-on-one meetings.