Mr Goel, the junior minister for Parliamentary Affairs in the Narendra Modi's cabinet, said he
had dropped into senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's room but he wasn't there. "I will go to his house later,'' he said, adding that he would "personally meet" other opposition leaders.
"We are continuously requesting opposition parties to allow parliament to function. Today they listened, the Gratuity Bill was passed. Hope the rest of the days they cooperate like they did today," he said, adding that the government was ready to discuss any issue raised by the opposition.
The Congress has accused the government of not reaching out to any of them for the first time saying there had been no back-channel communication, which is otherwise a norm between parties. Earlier this week, Mr Azad said the government was "responsible for the impasse". "We want the house to function and discussions to take place on three issues," he said.
The issues he named were "irregularities in banks where billions of rupees have been looted", special category status for Andhra Pradesh and Cauvery waters - which triggered vociferous protests, complete with marches into the Well of the House, slogan shouting, booing and throwing of paper missiles by the lawmakers of opposition parties.
Today, the Lok Sabha functioned for just 8 minutes before it adjourned for the day. The Rajya Sabha managed to function for a slightly longer period -- exactly 17 minutes - before being adjourned following protests by the TDP, the AIADMK and the Congress. But in that short window, the government managed to pass the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill through a voice vote. No discussion was held. Amid a similar din, the bill had got the go-ahead from the Lok Sabha on March 15.
Congress lawmaker Pratap Singh Bajwa said the NDA was trying to "hoodwink us". He said today, after the Gratuity Bill was passed in the upper house, "NDA allies from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka came into the well... This shows they have a tacit understanding... won't allow the House to function".
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