Left serves notice of privilege motion against PM in parliament (Lead)


New Delhi : The Left parties have served notice of a privilege motion against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in parliament for failing to take the house into confidence on the India-US civilian nuclear deal.

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“We have submitted notices of breach of privilege to the presiding officers of the two. We are awaiting their replies,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury told reporters in Parliament House.

“At the time of the confidence vote, the prime minister had given an assurance to the house that before signing the deal he would come to the house to get its approval,” Yechury pointed out.

“He had said that he would abide by what parliament states before operationalising the deal. He had specifically told the Left parties: ‘Let us go to the IAEA and the NSG and then we will come back and discuss it with you’.

“With (Indian External Affairs Minister) Pranab Mukherjee and (US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice signing the deal, it has become operational. This, we think, is a serious breach of parliamentary privilege,” Yechury maintained.

“We want it to be immediately taken up,” he added.

The ball is now in the court of Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chaterjee. Should they decide to accept the motion, it will then go to the Privileges Committee, which will frame “charges” if it finds merit in the plea.

This would then have to be debated and voted on in parliament. If the motion is carried, the government would have to resign.

The current session of parliament runs till Nov 21 and there is a possibility that it might be curtailed in view of the upcoming festive season and assembly elections in five states.

Thus, even if the Privileges Committee clears the motion, it is unlikely to be debated, given the heavy legislative agenda, with the government planning to table crucial bills on insurance, banking and pension funds reforms.

This apart, the government Friday tabled a bill to amend the country’s anti-money laundering act.

Thus, if the motion is not debated before the session concludes, it will automatically lapse.

The Left parties had withdrawn support to the Manmohan Singh government over the nuclear deal, prompting the July 22 trust vote that the government won.