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Will Parliament session be curtailed?

There are indications of an early sine die adjournment of the two Houses of Parliament this week, with proceedings being repeatedly stalled on the nuclear deal.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2007 03:36 IST
Saroj Nagi

There are indications of an early sine die adjournment of the two Houses of Parliament this week, with the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha being repeatedly stalled on the nuclear deal. But the final decision would rest on how the political parties play it out in the Upper House on Thursday, where the nuclear debate is being brought forward with Chairman Hamid Ansari’s consent.

Behind the advancement of the debate is the government’s move to put the ball in the Opposition’s court so that the blame for an early end of the monsoon session – otherwise slated for September 14 – lies with the BJP-NDA and the third front and not the UPA.

More so, as Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, LK Advani told newspersons that the announcement of the UPA-Left panel to go into the communists’ concerns over the deal has “preempted any parliamentary debate on the issue.”

A final decision would be taken at an NDA meeting on Thursday morning. Proceedings in both Houses were stalled on Wednesday, with slogan-shouting Opposition members disrupting proceedings while lambasting the government for setting up a UPA-Left panel to go into the communists’ concerns over the 123 agreement when it should have set up a joint parliamentary committee (JPC).

Besides a JPC, the BJP also wants a constitutional amendment to make parliamentary ratification mandatory – both demands summarily rejected by the Congress, the first because it did not fall in the Parliament’s domain and the second because the power to sign treaties lies with the government.

Leader of House Pranab Mukherjee, who met BJP’s Advani and Jaswant Singh on Wednesday to try and break the deadlock, ruled out a JPC. “A JPC is not possible. We are prepared to discuss with them also as we are doing with the Left,” he told newspersons.

“How can the BJP demand a JPC when the Speaker rejected the Opposition’s notice for a debate followed by vote on renegotiating the 123 agreement as it is not in Parliament’s domain? As the Speaker sets up the JPC, how can the BJP expect him to go against his own ruling?” asked PR Dasmunsi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

He added that the UPA-Left panel was an internal arrangement of the coalition partners just as the BJP-NDA had done with the TDP and DMK on the POTA issue.