The Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between New Delhi and Dhaka, a key bilateral issue that aims to settle the four-decade old dispute over enclaves, seems to be in choppy waters.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday reportedly sought the BJP’s help to support a bill on the agreement but the opposition party expressed its reservations about handling over land to the neighbouring country.
Senior BJP leader LK Advani along with the two Leaders of Opposition—Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley—met Singh over dinner on Thursday. According to Congress sources Advani told the Prime Minister that they can’t be expected to support any move to transfer land to another country.
The Union cabinet had to defer the approval of the constitutional amendment bill on LBA on Thursday as it was felt more political consensus was required before taking up the bill in Parliament.
A constitutional amendment bill would require the support of at least two-third members with at least 50% MPs voting in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for its passage. Without the support of the BJP, the government has little chance of passing it.
The LBA, along with the Teesta water accord, are seen as the two crucial demands of the Bangladesh regime. The pact is for mutual exchange of enclaves — 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India.