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Govt for consensus on amending law on office of profit

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 27: The effort to arrive at a consensus on the office of profit issue has gained momentum with the government holding discussion with both its allies and opposition parties so that a Parliamentary session could be held soon to redefine the issue.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, L K Advani and Jaswant Singh respectively, while he as well as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi spoke to CPM leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury on phone.

Mr Dasmunsi also held discussion with UPA allies RJD and NCP. The views of smaller parties like Shiv Sena, BJD, JD(S) and MDMK are also being taken on the controversial issue to arrive at a consensus.

Mr Dasmunsi said discussions are being held and soon a Parliamentary session would be called to arrive at a consensus on the issue. Most probably, the session would be held on May 10 after the assembly polls are over. However, the appropriate decision would be taken at a right time, he added.

The Office of Profit issue which began with the disqualification of Samajwadi Party leader Jaya Bachchan from the Rajya Sabha snowballed into a major controversy leading to the resignation of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi from the Lok Sabha as well as the National Advisory Council.

Faced with the severe criticism from both the opposition as well as Left parties on sine die adjournment of Parliament to bring an ordinance on the issue, the government is now adopting a cautious approach and consulting every political party to bring an amendment into the law before Parliament.

The BJP, frontrunner in criticising the government on the issue, is also not adverse to a bill on the issue before the Parliament.

The party, whose leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra and many MLAs from Jharkhand may face disqualification under the present provision, wants a discussion on the issue in Parliament.

The party's keenness that a bill be tabled emanates from the fact that the BJP governments in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are on precarious ground. However, party sources said that no assurance of support on the issue has been given to the government.

The Left parties, facing major embarrassment as many of their MPs may face disqualification under the present provision, also want the government to bring a legislation on the issue soon. Though ruling out that its MPs would resign from Parliament, the left parties said that they only opposed the ordinance route to change the provisions.

While there appeared to be a consensus among the parties on bringing forward a Bill to exempt some posts from the definition of office of profit, consensus was yet to be arrived over when the Parliament should be reconvened for the purpose.

UNI

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