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Ordinance route unacceptable: Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, MoS Rajiv Pratap Rudy at the Parliament House in New Delhi on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rejuvenated by the BJP’s rout in the Delhi Assembly elections and >Nitish Kumar’s return as Chief Minister of Bihar, the Opposition, a day ahead of Parliament’s budget session, remained unwilling to co-operate with the government, especially on the passage of the ordinances that are priority on the government’s legislative agenda.

At an all-party meeting convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday, the Opposition leaders reiterated that the ordinance route was “unacceptable”. The budgets — general and railways — they stressed, should take precedence over everything else in this session.

However, the government, it is learnt, is trying to broker a deal with the Congress in return for support on the insurance ordinance in the Rajya Sabha. It has promised to make necessary changes in the land ordinance. The other four ordinances will be taken up in the Lok Sabha, giving the government an edge — it can get them passed in the Lower House and even if they are rejected in the Upper House, the government can, technically, call a joint session to push them through, though it would have to be one at a time.

Expecting a tough session ahead, the NDA government has already launched a charm offensive against the Opposition. Shortly after he shared a stage with NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Baramati, Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Uttar Pradesh to attend a pre-wedding ceremony that united the families of RJD leader Lalu Prasad and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh. Finally, at Sunday’s all-party meeting, Mr. Modi sought the Opposition’s co-operation, promising to accommodate its concerns.

The government’s conciliatory approach was also on display earlier in the day when Mr. Naidu drove down to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence to seek the cooperation of the largest Opposition party in carrying out the legislative business. He assured her that the government was “willing to walk the extra mile to accommodate the Opposition.”

Simultaneously, Cabinet Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Birender Singh met representatives of farmers’ organisations as well as of RSS-affiliate Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, who are opposing the ordinance on land acquisition.

In no mood to relent

At the all-party meeting, the Opposition made it clear that it had no intention of relenting on the land ordinance. Indeed, the first two days of the session will see the land ordinance being raised both on the floor of Parliament as well as outside with activist > Anna Hazare protesting on the issue. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will also lead a protest at Jantar Mantar on February 25.

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said it would be a “fight to the finish” as he lashed out at the government, saying it had made the land law worse than the one that existed under the British rule. INLD leader Dushyant Chautala demanded that the proposed Bill to convert the land ordinance into a new Act be referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament.

Mr. Naidu later acknowledged to journalists that some Opposition parties had expressed their reservations against the land ordinance and that it needed to be addressed “sincerely without undue politicisation.”

He, however, added that there was “broad consensus” on five other ordinances to be converted into Acts, a statement that was challenged by Opposition leaders who attended the meeting. “We spoke about the ordinances and pointed out that this route was unacceptable in democracy. Debate and discussion must precede decisions, not the other way round. The government did not discuss the substantive issues in the ordinances, it only wanted our support,” said an Opposition leader.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 11:01:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ordinance-route-unacceptable-opposition/article6922542.ece

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