It was a refer & defer session: BJP

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The Economic Times, September 02, 2010

BJP seized upon the government?s inability to pass certain bills to drive home its point that the UPA dispensation has ?lost grip? over governance.

?If somebody?s priority was food security, for someone else it was the nuclear liability bill. There was no co-ordination within the government. One ministry stalled another?s work. There was no attempt to collectively ensure passage of bills,? BJP?s Rajya Sabha leader Arun Jaitley said while addressing a press conference here along with Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj.

There was a gap between Union ministers and ruling party MPs and widening of this gap was apparent, he claimed ?The government appears to be losing direction…there is no collective governance,? Mr Jaitley said.

The educational tribunal bill was on Tuesday deferred following opposition from not just BJP and the Left but senior Congress member K Keshava Rao in the Rajya Sabha. BJP leaders said they had cautioned the HRD minister, who had tried to reach out to BJP for its support to the bill, that it risked getting defeated in the Upper House, where the UPA did not have a majority.

Prior to this, Union minister Salman Khurshid had tried to convince BJP to back the enemy property bill. BJP, which had agreed to support the ordinance brought by home minister P Chidambaram, was opposed to the amendments in the bill diluting provisions in the ordinance. The amendments were brought under pressure from influential Muslim MPs.

While BJP alleged disagreements within the government, Mr Jaitley and Ms Swaraj refuted any disconnect in the party stand in the LS and RS. ?This is not true. There was good co-ordination,? they said on allegations by parliamentary affairs minister P K Bansal that the BJP spoke in one voice outside but different voices in Parliament.

BJP had allowed passage of the educational tribunal bill as well as the prevention of torture bill in Lok Sabha. Ms Swaraj said that BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi had opposed provisions of the educational tribunal bill in the Lok Sabha during the debate. On the prevention of torture bill, she said the legislation was suddenly taken up in the lower house during the previous session.

Ms Swaraj, who summed up the monsoon session as a ?refer and defer? session, said bills were either being referred back or deferred. The Prevention of Torture Bill was referred to a Select Committee and the Education Tribunal Bill and the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill were withdrawn at the last minute.

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