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BJP's Temporary Truce: To Allow Finance Bills

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Main Opposition party BJP on Monday, 29 APril 2013 announced a temporary truce with the government on the coal mines and 2G spectrum allocation issues and said it will allow the passage of Finance bills in the Lok Sabha before resuming its agitation in Parliament against the Manmohan Singh dispensation.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath requested BJP and other political parties to cooperate with the government and ensure passage of the pending Finance Bill, Appropriations Bill, rail budget and the Demands for Grants tomorrow.

In an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar this morning, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj acceded to this request to avert a "constitutional crisis" and not block passage of these Bills.

As per rules, government has to get all money bills related to the union budget passed within 75 days of the presentation of the budget. Since these four Bills will have to go the Rajya Sabha and then to the President for his assent, it is crucial for the government to get Lok Sabha's approval by April 30 to meet the deadline.

The on-going budget session gets over on May 10.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Swaraj will speak during the debate on the Finance Bill and state the reasons for her party's on-going protests in both Houses on the JPC draft report on 2G spectrum and the reported vetting of the CBI report on coal mines allocation by the Law Minister.

The main opposition is then likely to stage a walkout of the Lok Sabha to register its protest while leaving the ground open for the government to get its Bills through.

Asked if BJP was letting go of an opportunity to corner the government by stopping passage of the money Bills, Javadekar said "BJP is a responsible opposition and if these Bills are not passed, there will be a constitutional crisis.

After their passage, our agitation will continue."

"We are against this government but will allow Finance bills to go through to protect democracy," Javadekar said.

BJP is silent on whether it has succeeded in any floor coordination with its NDA allies and other opposition parties when the money bills come up for discussion and passage. While some of these parties are also likely to stage a walkout, some others may just oppose the Bills.

Javadekar was also evasive on whether BJP will be present in the House when cut motions moved by it come up for voting.

The party hit out at the government saying it had been given the mandate to rule and work for the welfare of the people. "Instead, it has indulged in looting them," the Rajya Sabha MP charged.

Emphasising that the opposition agitation against the government inside Parliament will continue, the BJP said it will speak out vociferously against the government on both the coal scam and the JPC report on 2G spectrum issues.

"The JPC report on 2G issue is a bogus report and has been prepared to defend the government," Javadekar said.

On the coal issue, he lamented that though the Prime Minister had himself held the coal portfolio he has been "silent" on recent allegations and has even defended the Law Minister.

"There has been no explanation from the government on why the coal blocks were allocated to some individuals and why they were not. On what grounds were the coal blocks given? The Prime Minister has himself signed the coal allocation papers.

The Law Minister has crossed all limits by vetting the CBI report. This is a cover-up," Javadekar said.

He maintained BJP's agitation in Parliament is against the "Emergency mindset" of the government and "corruption and scams perpetrated by it".

BJP denied the charge that it is softening its stand against the government by supporting its money bills. "We are not suspending our agitation," Javadekar said.

(PTI)