NDA opposed Bill, despite govts try for consensus

New Delhi, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2005, 05:30am hrs
Although the Lefts siding with the government on the Patents Bill and the Samajwadi Party also lending its support saw the Bill being passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the government did try to co-opt the BJP to achieve consensus on the Bills passage.

However, the BJP-led NDA staged a walk-out after its demand for referring it to a standing committee was refused.

Earlier, soon after a BJP parliamentary party meeting here on Tuesday morning, defence minister and leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee and parliamentary affairs minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, held discussions with NDA leaders, in an attempt to reach a consensus.

Sources said that the NDA leaders had told Mr Mukherjee that they wanted the Bill to be referred to a standing committee of a joint select committee for further debate and discussion.

They are also believed to have suggested that the Patent ordinance be re-promulgated for the time being and after the standing committees suggestions had been incorporated, the Bill could be introduced after the parliamentary recess after April 18.

However, the Congress leaders told them that it would not be possible to refer the Bill to a standing committee.

Prior to the meeting with Congress leaders, the BJP had contemplated several options, including a walkout when the Bill was taken up for passage and pressing for a division. A day earlier, the BJP had issued a whip to their MPs to ensure their presence during the vote and to oppose the Bills passage.BJPs NDA allies too had apparently agreed to follow the stand taken by the party.