THE AMENDMENT to the Office of Profit Bill, which was tabled on Wednesday, was passed by voice vote on Thursday. The Opposition tried to stall the passage, saying it was incomplete and tabled in haste. The Opposition protest almost died out after Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra introduced an amendment, adding another six offices to the list of exempted offices.
The amendment was almost to another one moved by Congress chief whip Satyadev Katare, a coincidence that led to CPM’s Ramlakhan Sharma comment that the passage of bill was a tacit understanding between the ruling and the main opposition parties.
When the Bill was tabled on Wednesday, the Congress and other opposition members raised strong objections. No similar protest was witnessed during the discussion on the Bill on Thursday.
The Opposition kept on repeating that the BJP was showing a dual character by placing a similar amendment bill like the UPA Government at the Centre – something that the central leadership of the BJP had vehemently protested.
Members, including Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi, Satyadev Katare, Ramniwas Rawat, Govind Singh (all Congress), Ramlakhan Sharma, Dr Sunilam (SP) and Dr IMP Verma (BSP) also stressed that the Bill was just a way for the government to bail out it ministers and MLAs implicated in the Office of Profit issue. Reiterating that the Bill was tabled in haste, they said it did not even have the financial statement to go with it. Ruling party members Durgalal Vijay and Shankarlal Tiwari spoke for the amendment.
Replying to the discussion, Minister Narottam Mishra said the Opposition should not object to the Bill just for the fact that it was similar to the one introduced by Congress-led UPA at the Centre. He ruled out any other procedural amendments in the Bill (except for introduction of additional offices), saying they were not possible as per rule.
FOREST PRODUCE AMENDMENT BILL PASSED: The Forest Produce (Trade-marketing) Amendment Bill was also unanimously passed in the House after an amendment deleting the use of word ‘pashu’ (animal) in the Bill. Apart from introduction of the word ‘pashu’ in the text of the original bill, the amendment and empowering the forest officials for action on illegal trade and transport of forest produce.