The opposition has so far been demanding a debate under Rule 267, which entails suspension of all other business, while the government had agreed for a short duration discussion under Rule 176.
The offer by Jairam Ramesh of Congress and Derek O’Brien (TMC) to take the middle-path came during a meeting held by Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar with floor leaders of various parties.
The sudden climbdown from the non-negotiable demand for a statement by PM Narendra Modi surprised the opposition parties in the meeting of the INDIA alliance, but it was accepted. There has been a feeling that the government has been passing the bills in the din, defeating the purpose of protests by the Opposition. However, the seriousness of the Manipur issue has kept the opposition going with protests. Sources said some opposition leaders have already drafted a “strong resolution” for discussion, but it remains to be seen if the government will accept it.
Opposition leaders told Leader of the House Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi that a discussion under Rule 167, with no time limit, could be held on Manipur, sources said.
But Goyal pointed to lack of time, saying only a few days were left for the session and that Home Minister Amit Shah would be caught up with the Delhi services bill which was passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday evening and is likely to be taken up by Rajya Sabha on Monday. Besides, the debate on no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha on Manipur has been slotted for three days between August 8 to 10.
Sources said the demand of the Opposition for the PM to speak in the House on Manipur remained on the table for now while the camp waited for a response from the government.
However, the dilution in stand will test the opposition resolve to keep Manipur, where violence is still to abate, at the front and centre of their agenda. There has been a feeling that discussions on other issues like inflation and some legislations should be allowed as the opposition has been left out.