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Updated: December 4, 2009 03:03 IST

Lok Sabha reschedules Liberhan debate

Neena Vyas
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A file picture of M. S. Liberhan, Chairman of the Liberhan Commission, which probed the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. Photo: PTI
A file picture of M. S. Liberhan, Chairman of the Liberhan Commission, which probed the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. Photo: PTI

The issue of the pecking order between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha has once again led to change the dates for a discussion on the Liberhan Commission’s report — it has now been rescheduled for the second time with the new dates for the Lok Sabha settled at December 7 and 8 and in the Rajya Sabha December 9 and 10, as before. Thus, next week in Parliament will practically be the Liberhan week.

On Wednesday the Lok Sabha decided to fix December 9 and 10 as the dates for the Liberhan discussion after the government promised it would make the report available in Hindi the next day, which it did on Thursday. At that time some members felt the Rajya Sabha could be persuaded to reschedule to avoid clash of dates. But, the Upper House decided not to allow its debate to be pushed to the following week starting December 14, as would have been the case if the Lok Sabha had stuck to the December 9 and 10 schedule.

One of the Houses had to change the dates as the Union Home Minister, who would be replying to the debate, can obviously not be present in both the Houses simultaneously to listen to the members.

Since the Rajya Sabha had much earlier fixed December 9 for the discussion, it was unwilling to be pushed around to accommodate the changing dates in the Lok Sabha, which had in the first instance wanted the discussion on December 1 and 2 and had then postponed it to December 9 and 10, knowing that the Rajya Sabha had already fixed December 9 for the debate in the Upper House.

With the Hindi version of the Liberhan Commission tabled in Parliament on Thursday, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, was asked whether he would be ready to participate in the debate by Monday, and he readily agreed. It was Mr. Yadav’s objection to the non-availability of the report in Hindi that had led to the first rescheduling of the discussion in the Lok Sabha from December 1 to 9. The BJP too was happy to reschedule it and the government had no problem as it ‘wanted to accommodate the views of all.’

Since Lok Sabha members are acutely conscious of the primacy of the Lower House, they decided to advance the discussion so that the debate in the Rajya Sabha would follow, not precede, their discussion.

From the BJP, all members of the so-called D-4 group — Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar — will be speaking on the subject that is close to the hearts of the sangh parivar. In addition, two other speakers will be BJP president Rajnath Singh and party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, with three lined up in each House.

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