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Nandigram issue: debate in Parliament today

india Updated: Nov 21, 2007 01:18 IST
Saroj Nagi
Saroj Nagi
Hindustan Times
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A Nandigram-specific debate will take place in Parliament on Wednesday, with the Government, the BJP-NDA and the Left parties managing to break the stalemate that was threatening to set in on the issue.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani will initiate the discussion on the basis of fresh notices to be issued along the lines of a Nandigram-specific draft that has been agreed upon by all parties.

The draft, prepared by CPI’s Gurudas Das Gupta and accepted by the other leaders, talks about the situation arising out of a proposal to set up a special economic zone in Nandigram and the consequent large-scale violence. Home Minister Shivraj Patil will reply to the debate that is expected to start after Question Hour.

Following the breakthrough in the Lok Sabha, the debate in the Upper House is also expected to revolve around a similar draft. The two Houses had been adjourned for the second consecutive day on Tuesday following disruptions on the issue.

To start a discussion on the issue each side showed some flexibility. The BJP-NDA relented on its demand for an adjournment motion while ensuring an area-specific debate; the Left agreed to discuss Nandigram but said that a state specific subject cannot be debated in Parliament and then introduced a central element - the SEZ - in the draft. The government, on its part, ensured a general debate on the subject in order to get Parliament to function.

During the day Speaker Somnath Chatterjee called a meeting of floor leaders and asked NCP chief Sharad Pawar to break the impasse. He also said he was ready to allow a discussion on any subject as long as the notice he gets is in the usual format and under proper rules so that it is admissible.

Pawar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi then held consultations with Basudeb Acharia, Rupchand Pal (both CPM), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and V K Malhotra (BJP), Prabhunath Singh (JD-U) and Braja Kishore Tripathu (BJD). Dasgupta played a key role in trying to break the logjam.

In trying to persuade the Marxists to agree to a Nandigram-specific debate, it was argued that their reluctance to do so might imply that they had something to hide. The Left leaders have been resisting a parliamentary debate on the ground that law and order is a state subject.

“But we have changed our stand because we do not want to be dubbed as obstructionists. However controversial, we want everything to be discussed in Parliament but within the rules and the framework. Also, SEZ is not a state subject. So, it can be discussed in Parliament,” Das Gupta told Hindustan Times.

Another Left leader said, “It would give us the opportunity to tell the people about the facts of the case. There is a misconception of a proposal for a SEZ in the area but there is no such proposal.”

With inputs from Sutirtho Patranobis