Rajya Sabha likely to witness heated debate over Real Estate bill

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New Delhi, May 4: Rajya Sabha is likely to witness a tug of war between Government and Opposition over real estate bill, which is listed for consideration and passage tomorrow as main Opposition party Congress has upped the ante over it after Rahul Gandhi's Saturday meeting with home buyers.

Facing number crunch in Rajya Sabha, the government was forced to defer the bill last Wednesday after opposition insisted on referring it to Select Committee of Parliament.

Parliament

Cornered by the Opposition, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had then said that the Bill should be deferred to allow the government time to have more consultations with parties and had promised to bring it back to the House.

While Congress' opposition to the bill has become even more aggressive in last four-five days, the government seems to be working to garner the support of some regional parties to pass the bill.

The government has been insisting that the bill is aimed to regulate and promote real estate sector and protect the interest of consumers.

However, a united Opposition in Rajya Sabha had not accepted Naidu's arguments that the amendments proposed were based on suggestions of the Standing Committee.

The government's argument is that the Standing Committee had representation from all political parties, and that it went ahead with amendments after "exhaustive consultations" with all stakeholders.

On Saturday after meeting home buyers from NCR region, Gandhi intensified the Congress attack on Narendra Modi government, accusing it of working against middle class home-buyers by "diluting" the bill and making it "pro-builders".

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien, however, took objection to Gandhi's escalated attack on the issue saying he was amused that someone is trying to hog the spotlight.

"All opposition parties in Rajya Sabha united five days ago to send the Real Estate bill to a select committee... Amused that someone is trying to hog the spotlight," O'Brien had said in an apparent reference to Gandhi.

However, the Trinamool leader's words may not bring much comfort to the ruling NDA, which is woefully short of majority in the Rajya Sabha.

Moreover, Brien's remarks may not necessarily lead to a change in the Trianmool Congress' stand, which favours sending the bill to Select Committee. As such the passage of the bill appears a remote possibility.

PTI

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