Saturday, January 07, 2012

BJP asks president to reconvene Rajya Sabha, get Lokpal vote done

Indicts government for creating disturbances in House

New Delhi: The BJP wanted president Pratibha Devisnh Patil to get the Rajya Sabha voting on Lokpal done. The main opposition party wanted the president to advise the government to reconvene the Rajya Sabha and take the unfinished business of the noisy seesion of December 29-30 to its logical conclusion. BJP is keen to corner the government on the Lokpal issue.

Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior party leader Arun Jaitley told media persons that the president had promised to look into all aspects of the issue.

Unfazed by the deep embarrassment caused by the induction of Babu Singh Kushwaha, the former minister in Mayawati government accused of being involved in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, a high profile and high powered BJP delegation led by NDA chairman L.K.Advani, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jailtley, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and party president Nitin Gadkari, met the president on Thursday morning (Jan 5) and submitted a memorandum.

The memorandum, signed by Advani, Gadkari, Swaraj and Jaitley, urged, “The President could advise the government to re-convene the Session and immediately take a vote.”

But the memorandum was not confined to finding a constituional solution to the Lokpal logjam. It was also a strong indictment of the Congress-led UPA government for subverting democratic norms. After accusing the government of orchestrating disturbance in the House so as to avoid voting because the government did not have majority, the memorandum made a strong argument against the government's constituional failure.

It said: “The effort to avoid a vote through contrived distrubances is a clear subversion of parliamentary democracy. A government which avoids a vote has no moral authority to continue in office. If a state government avoided a vote in a legislature in this manner, it could be argued that governance is not being carried on in accordance with the Constitution. How does the Indian political and constituional system countenance a central government which does the same? When such a breakdown of the constituional machinery takes place, the President as a protector and guardian of Indian Constitution must act.”

Surprisingly, there was no plea to dismiss the government. The mild constitutional remedy that the BJP is seeking is that of putting the Lokpal bill to vote in the Rajya Sabha.

Asked if the President can reconvene the Rajya Sabha, Supreme Court lawyer and constitutional expert Rajeev Dhawan said that the House has not been prorogued and that it has only been adjourned sine die, implying that the President can only convene parliament once it is prorogued. Also, the president can only do so on the advise of the government.
While Congress leaders, including prime minister Manmohan Singh, are hoping to come back to parliament and push the law on the ombudsman through, the BJP wants to put the Congress on the mat because a vote on Lokpal in Rajya Sabha will mean a defeat for the government.

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