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Two RS members appointed to JPC on 2G scam: BJP

Source: PTI
August 29, 2013 18:19 IST
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Two Rajya Sabha members, including a nominated one, were today appointed to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G scam amid stiff resistance from the Bharatiya Janata Party which feared "dangerous implications" and stalled proceedings for rest of the day.

The motion to appoint Congress member P Bhattacharya and nominated member Ashok S Ganguly to the 30-member Committee was adopted by voice vote amid din created by BJP members who argued that the move will affect the balance of the panel.

The motion was moved to fill up two vacancies created in the JPC after the retirement of Opposition Dravida Munetra Kazhagam member Tiruchi Siva and resignation of E M S Natchiappan (Congress), who became a minister in July.

As soon as the motion was brought in the second attempt since the one failed last week, BJP members demanded its recall as it would have "dangerous implications".

However, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla, who moved the motion, insisted that the matter was discussed with different political parties and he had consulted with BJP leaders including Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.

The JPC has 20 members from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.

Jaitley said such a practice by government was not good and will have "dangerous implications" as it will not have opposition representation.

"The numbers matter, remembering what has happened (in JPC). A Parliamentary Committee always represents the strength of various political parties. Government is taking away both the vacancies. This has never happened...This is against Parliamentary norms and extremely dangerous. The precedent they are setting is extremely bad," Jaitley said.

Criticising the move, Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) said, "It will have serious repercussions."

"The government is trying to dominate. It will set a bad precedent...the chair cannot conduct voting. Don't make new rulings," he said.

BJP members were up on their seats in protest against the move and soon trooped in the well shouting slogans. "Tanashahi nahin chalegi' (dictatorship will not work) and 'Beimano ki yeh sarkar, nahin chalegi' (the government of the corrupt will not be allowed) chanted the BJP members as Kurien adjourned the House for lunch.

Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party of India-Marxist) said those parties should fill up vacancies whose members have created them and appoint a member of the same party by choice. "Let conventions be followed," he said.

The house was adjourned twice during Zero Hour over the issue and for three time after lunch forcing the chair to adjourn the House for the day at 3 pm. The appointment of the two members came in the second attempt as it had failed last week when the opposition stalled a similar move by insisting on wider consultations.

Other members such as Najma Heptullah and Ravi Shankar Prasad also objected to the government's move of pushing through the motion by taking away both the vacancies, saying such a move was against set Parliamentary practices.

Seeking to maintain balance of representation in the JPC, Heptulla said, "This is a new precedent being set. It would be against the norms of representation. The nominated members should also be appointed, but why at the cost of Opposition. It is the government which should give them representation."

Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) said he had insisted for a voting by secret ballot, but asked the Chair to defer the matter for wider consultations before a consensus.

Shukla said, "We have discussed with different parties... I have consulted BJP leaders, including Leader of Opposition. I have consulted leaders of all political parties."

K C Tyagi (Janata Dal-United) said, "There are other parties whose strength is not less than All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam and the CPI-M. There are nine members each of BSP and SP. They should also have a say..."

When the House reassembled at 2 pm, the BJP members continued to protest leading to two adjournments of the Rajya Sabha.  Naidu and other members of his party demanded recall of the resolution to include two members in the JPC, saying it was against tradition to have a vote when members are in the Well.

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