Key bills stuck; Bansal writes to absent Cong MPs
Upset over Lokpal Bill, Prez speech amendment fiasco, minister tells leaders to stay in House the entire day.delhi Updated: Apr 30, 2012 01:21 IST
The government has directed all the Congress MPs in both the Houses of Parliament to remain present in Delhi on all working days till the budget session ends on May 22.
In a letter to all the party MPs, including ministers, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has also asked them to remain in Parliament the whole day, "as and when they will be informed about the requirements of the government business".
The letter is aimed at avoiding any repetition of the absence of the ruling party MPs from Parliament, which caused some anxious moments for the government-- first during the voting on the Lokpal bill in the Lok Sabha during the winter session and then on the voting on amendments on the President's address during the first half of the budget session in March.
In his letter, Bansal has referred to two specific instances. "It was noticed that 25 MPs were absent during voting in the Lok Sabha on March 19 and eight MPs were absent during voting in the Rajya Sabha on March 20," Bansal wrote.
The Congress had taken a strict view of the absence of some its MPs during voting in both the Houses on the amendments moved by the opposition parties to the President's address, in which they wanted the reference to the setting-up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) without consulting the states to be removed from it.
It was found that only three Congress MPs had taken permission to remain absent from the proceedings.
The ruling party had earlier suffered a major embarrassment in the Lok Sabha on December 27 last, when the bill to amend the Constitution to provide a constitutional status for the Lokpal could not be passed due to lack of numbers.
The government could only muster support from 247 MPs that night in favour of its constitutional amendment, when it enjoyed a support of atleast 275 MPs in the lower house.