Key bills pile up as BJP stalls parliament


New Delhi : Key bills on internal security, farmers, price rise and economic slowdown are on the backburner as parliament remains stalled over the BJP’s demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ouster over irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.

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Some of the bills pending include Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, and the Chemical Weapons (Amendment) Bill.

The bulk of them were introduced in 2011 and some in 2010.

Predictably, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for the parliament deadlock. But the BJP says the pile up is because the government had failed to convince its own allies over some of them.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government had planned to take up at least 25 of the 31 pending bills in the monsoon session that ends Sep 7.

“It is unfortunate that the BJP is not allowing parliament to function,” Bansal told IANS. “Since the monsoon session started (Aug 8), only one bill could be taken up in each house.”

Government sources said with the past week of parliament washed out, there was little hope of the logjam ending in the coming weeks as the BJP was adamant on Manmohan Singh’s exit.

The BJP countered this.

“We supported the pension bill but their own ally (Trinamool Congress) opposed it… We are not to be blamed,” BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad told IANS.

Stating that parliament should function so that important issues can be taken up, BJP ally Janata Dal-United said debates should be result-oriented.

“There have been debates on 2G spectrum and CWG scams without any result… But parliament should function so that important bills are taken up,” JD-U Lok Sabha MP Bhudeo Choudhary told IANS.

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said both the government and the main opposition party were responsible for running the parliament.

“We want the prime minister to face the parliament on the coal blocks allocation… For that parliament should function… It is the primary responsibility of the government to run the parliament but BJP is equally responsible,” Raja told IANS.

Biju Janata Dal’s Bhartruhari Mahtab said the BJP was making parliament irrelevant.

“The BJP is making parliament irrelevant,” Mahtab told IANS. “Burning issues like internal security, farmers’ plight, price rise and economic slowdown have been relegated to the background.”