BJP opposes Darjeeling Bill to lodge its 'in-principle protest'

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New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI) Accusing the UPA Government of bypassing the Parliamentary conventions that all new bills be referred to the Standing Committee before they are introduced in Parliament, the BJP today conveyed to the Government that it would oppose the 107th amendment of the Constitution concerning Darjeeling Hill Council.

BJP Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj said, the BJP's opposition to the Bill was purely to put across its strong views that the Government shall not take the established convention for granted.

The Government bulldozed its way on the Bill on All India Institute of Medical Sciences and it was time the BJP spelt out its mind. The Government can't get this Constitutional Amendment passed without BJP's support because passage of the Bill would mean that the government will have to muster support of at least half of the total members in the Bill and a two third of the members present in the House.

She said Home Minister Shivraj Patil had sought the support of Leader of Opposition L K Advani to get the Bill passed. This was because, the Government can't get the Bill passed without BJP otherwise, the Government did not care for the Opposition even if it meant breaking the established convention in Parliament.

She said the amendment to Gorkha Hill Council Bill should have been introduced in Rajya Sabha because the Standing Committee on Home Affairs was headed by her in her capacity as a member of Rajya Sabha. The Government had introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha to bypass the convention.

Mr Advani who held a meeting of top BJP Parliamentary Party leaders including his Rajya Sabha counterpart, two Deputy Leaders and Chief Whips called up Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Kumar Mukherjee informing that the BJP would oppose the Bill as a 'matter of principle' and to protest against bypassing the established convention.

To a question that the BJP's opposition would delay the Darjeeling Hill Council constitution, Mrs Swaraj said if the Government was so very keen to get this passed without hassles it should have referred it to the Standing Committee in time.

There were also protests from Darjeeling people that there were no tribals in the area and the grant of 'tribal status' to the Darjeeling Hill Council under 6th Schedule would be discriminatory.

But at this point of time, the BJP is not viewing the matter on merit but had confined its opposition to government violating the established convention.


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