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Parties agree it's time to redefine 'office of profit'

Almost everyone is keen that a Bill be tabled to amend the Parliament Act, 1959 to this end, reports Saroj Nagi.
None | By Saroj Nagi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 26, 2006 10:43 AM IST

After fighting bitterly over the term for days, political parties across the spectrum now agree it’s time to clearly define ‘office of profit’. Almost everyone is keen that a Bill be tabled to amend the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 to this end.

The consensus emerged after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deputed Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi — and not Law Minister HR Bhardwaj — to seek the views of political leaders of all hues on the issue.

Dasmunshi’s consultations were based on four points. One, whether the parties wanted an ordinance or a law. Two, if it’s a law, should it be a comprehensive new Bill defining office of profit, or an amendment to the existing Act. Three, whether there should be an all-party meeting over the issue. And finally, should the Government call a special Parliament session or stick to the May 10-23 schedule.

On Saturday, Dasmunshi held talks with, among others, LK Advani, Sharad Pawar, Lalu Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja and Shibu Soren.

Soren reportedly urged the Government to go slow, especially given that the BJP Governments in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are on precarious ground. “Let the BJP stew in its soup,” Soren is believed to have told Dasmunshi. Paswan made a similar suggestion.

BJP chief Rajnath Singh had asked the Government to call for an early session — a point Jaswant Singh supported, but Advani left it to the Government’s discretion. Advani also did not favour an all-party meeting, though leaders like Abani Roy of RSP wanted it. After consulting the rest of the parties on Sunday, Dasmunshi will report to the PM.

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