Ahead of President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the Parliament before the Budget Session, 18 opposition parties have decided to boycott the address. While announcing the boycott, the opposition parties including Indian National Congress accused the BJP-led NDA government of passing the farm laws without taking national consensus into account.
The opposition parties who have announced a boycott of the President's joint address include Indian National Congress, NCP, CPI, CPI (M), RJD, DMK, Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress, All India United Democratic Front, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, RSP, Peoples Democratic Party, MDMK and Kerala Congress (M). The Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party have also separately announced the call to boycott the address.
The joint statement, released by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "The Prime Minister and the BJP government remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response. Shocked by this insensitivity of the government, the opposition political parties, reaffirming the collective demand for the repeal of the anti-farmer laws and in solidarity with the Indian farmers, have decided to boycott the President's address to both the houses of Parliament..."
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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi termed the opposition's boycott of the President's joint address as "most unfortunate". Joshi appealed to all the parties to reconsider their boycott call while stating the President is above party politics. He added that the BJP has never boycotted the President's opposition in its days as the leading opposition party and the issues raised by the opposition parties can be flagged during the debate on the motion of thanks to the President's address.
The budget session will begin with the President's address followed by the presentation of the Economic Survey by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at around 02:30 pm. Parliament's budget session will be held in two sessions-January 29 to February 15 and March 8 to April 8 in a total of 33 sittings.