Battle lines are drawn on the land acquisition bill. Signaling its determination to go ahead with it, the government has decided to re-promulgate the ordinance which lapses on April 6. The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs (CCPA) has recommended that the Rajya Sabha be prorogued, a requirement for the ordinance to be re-promulgated.
Battle lines are drawn on the land acquisition bill. Signaling its determination to go ahead with it, the government has decided to re-promulgate the ordinance which lapses on April 6. The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs (CCPA) has recommended that the Rajya Sabha be prorogued, a requirement for the ordinance to be re-promulgated.The CCPA took the decision on Friday evening, hours after Congress president Sonia Gandhi refused to back the bill dubbing it as “blatantly anti-farmer” and “anti-poor.”The face-off with the Congress has apparently not sapped the government’s resolve to get the bill passed in Rajya Sabha, where the ruling side is in a minority. The government is hoping to repeat its strategy on the coal and mines and minerals bills, when it managed to break Opposition unity and got support of non-Congress, non-Left parties.The bill would have lapsed two weeks before the House reconvened on April 20, after the recess. The government wanted to send a message that it was committed to the legislation and allowing the ordinance to lapse would be seen as succumbing to opposition pressure, sources said. The re-promulgated ordinance would include the nine amendments made to the bill in Lok Sabha.”The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs met and has decided to recommend prorogation of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect,” parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the CCPA meeting. However, he did not specify when the government planned to bring the bill.The bill was passed in Lok Sabha, where the government has a comfortable majority, with nine amendments. The own ally, Shiv Sena, abstained from the voice vote.In the 245-member House, the Congress has 68 seats and the Left 11. The BJP, which has 47 seats, would require the support of the other Opposition parties to get the bill passed. With the Opposition using the land bill as a political weapon against the BJP, the government’s task is unlikely to be easy. If the government fails to get the required numbers on board to support the bill in Rajya Sabha, it would have to explore the option of a joint session, in which it would have a majority. The Opposition is likely to insist on referring the bill to a Select Committee.Government sources said this was not the first time that a session was being truncated to re-promulgate an ordinance and that Congress government had set several such precedents.In 1994, Rajya sabha was adjourned sine die during recess to promulgate three ordinances– the Manipur Municpalities Ordinance, Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Ordinace and New Delhi Municipal Council Ordinace.Since 1996, 15 Ordinances were re-promulgated. Of these, 7 were re-promulgated once and the others twice, sources said
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