There being no sign of the BJP letting Parliament function, the government may try to push through some Bills — which are not contentious — amid din in the two Houses.
An indication to this effect was given by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal after a meeting of senior party leaders, chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on Tuesday. The meeting took stock of the current political situation and pending Parliamentary business and tried to figure out possible measures for countering the BJP. Bansal apprised the leaders of the legislative business.
On top of the priority list is The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (Amendment) Bill dealing with the establishment of AIIMS-like institutions. Intended to replace an ordinance, it will pave the way for starting classes in these institutions from September 15.
The other Bills in this category include The Whistleblowers Protection Bill that is pending in the Rajya Sabha after adoption by the Lok Sabha; The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2011; and The Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill.
Bansal charged the BJP with a “diabolical design to subvert the system and democracy” and said “this is nothing short of fascism”. He said, “The BJP is trying to impose their minority view on the majority.” By refusing to have any discussions, the BJP, according to him, was showing that it had no faith in Parliamentary devices.
The minister rejected all BJP demands — resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, judicial inquiry in the coal block allocations and cancellation of the allotments. “The Prime Minister has not been sworn in by the Opposition,” Bansal said turning down the BJP’s demand that he step down from office.
“This is a great insult to people,” he added, reminding the Opposition that the Congress had secured the mandate of people for five years in 2009. “I can say it in my personal capacity that there is no question of cancelling allotments as nothing wrong has been done,” Bansal said.
Regarding the demand for a judicial inquiry into the allotments, Bansal wondered how it was possible when a CBI probe was already on.