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No Bills Till Bansal, Ashwani Resign : BJP

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Setting a tough condition before the government, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 said it will not allow passage of any bill in Parliament till Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar resign or are removed.

The opposition party also made it clear that it will not allow the passage of the National Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill, the two key measures the government is very keen about.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi reached out to the BJP leader in Parliament in a bid to win support for the passage of crucial Bills and hugged Swaraj after the Lower House was adjourned and talked with her for sometime, trying to break the deadlock.

At the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting chaired by L.K. Advani, it decided that party leaders would meet Speaker Meira Kumar against any move to rush through the legislations amid din.

“There is no question of participating in the proceedings of Parliament till the two ministers — Mr. Bansal and Mr. Kumar — resign or are removed... We want the National Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill to be passed after proper discussion. We will not allow their hasty passage without discussion amid din,” Deputy Leader of BJP in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde told reporters here.
Read Also: UPA Rules Out Resignation Of Bansal, Kumar
Read Also: Bansal's Role Under CBI Lens

Bansal is in the eye of a storm following the arrest of his nephew by CBI in a bribery case involving key railway appointments, while Kumar is embroiled in the coalgate controversy.

Sonia Reaches Out To Sushma
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who has been under attack from the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, today reached out to the BJP leader in Parliament in a bid to win support for the passage of crucial Bills.

Soon after Lok Sabha was adjourned, Swaraj was walking towards Central Hall with BJP Parliamentary Party chief L K Advani and other MPs when Gandhi approached her and put her one arm on the shoulder of the Leader of the Opposition.

Gandhi walked with Swaraj for some distance.

The MPs, who were witness to this new camaraderie between Gandhi and Swaraj, said the two leaders talked animatedly with each other. BJP leaders were, however, tight-lipped about the subject of the conversation.

Gandhi's gesture appears as a bid for a rapprochement with the main Opposition as the ruling party wants the Food Security and the Land Acquisition Bills passed in Parliament before the Budget Session ends on May 10. BJP supports these Bills in principle and would give its nod if certain amendments are incorporated.

The Congress President's move came as a surprise to many as on last Friday, Swaraj had accused Gandhi of instigating her MPs to disrupt her speech in Lok Sabha.

Swaraj had said it had been agreed that she will enumerate reasons for BJP's boycott of Parliament, following which BJP will stage a walkout to facilitate passage of the Finance Bill.

However, interruptions by Union ministers had made Swaraj angry and she blamed Gandhi for it. "I was disrupted 60 times in three minutes," Swaraj had said.

Gandhi is known for reaching out to other parties.

Earlier in this session, she had surprised her own party colleagues when she walked upto SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lok Sabha and asked him with folded hands to give up his demand for Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma's resignation.

Verma had accused Yadav of having sided with communal forces and that he took money to support the government from outside.

Crucial Hearing In Coal Scam On 8 May In SC

The crucial hearing on Coalgate will take place tomorrow in the Supreme Court which may pose some tough questions to the Centre following CBI Director's affidavit that the Law Minister and senior officials of the PMO and Coal Ministry had made significant changes in the probe report.

Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who is under attack from the opposition which is demanding his resignation over the issue, could find himself on a more sticky wicket if adverse remarks are made against him by the apex court.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati may find it difficult to justify his earlier claim made in the apex court that he was not aware about the contents of the status report, a statement belied by the CBI Director Ranjit Sinha's nine-page affidavit saying that AG had glanced through the report and changes were made in it on his suggestion.