Modi govt convinces Prez on passing land ordinance again, but needs to win over Opposition
The BJP is also reaching out to leaders from other parties before it comes up for debate in the upper house of Parliament.
The Modi government will re-promulgate ordinance on land acquisition, which would otherwise expire on 5 April. The government has already completed the first two conditions required for making such a move – the Rajya Sabha has been prorogued and the Union Cabinet has given its approval for it, incorporating all nine amendments made during its passage in Lok Sabha.
But the third and most important condition for re-promulgation is sending the ordinance to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent. When it was first sent to him in December, the President had sought a clarification from the government on what necessitated issuance of an ordinance on such an important subject.
A senior minister told Firstpost that “the government took its time and did due deliberation on the subject."
"We had to take adequate care that the President gives his nod to the ordinance for re-promulgation. The President has been informed and convinced about merits of our move. We are aware that the current ordinance will expire on 5 April and hope that there will be a correct outcome at the right time,” the minister said on condition of anonymity.
Like they had done with the mining and coal bills, some senior BJP leaders are approaching leaders of various opposition parties to win them over for the crucial vote in the Rajya Sabha on the land bill when it is taken in the second half of the budget session.
The ruling BJP had succeeded in breaking the “united opposition” ranks and isolating Congress and Left from rest of the opposition parties in the case of the coal and mines bills. The Congress meanwhile, has hardened its position further on the bill and is planning to hold a big farmers' rally ostensibly to re-launch its vice president Rahul Gandhi on his return from his extended sabbatical from politics.
In a sign that the BJP is not pursuing the Congress for support any more, Highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari has written a strong rejoinder to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s after she replied to the first letter sent by him. But the BJP is working on other fronts to get other parties to see the merits in the amendments brought in the legislation by the Modi government.
The re-promulgated ordinance will have to be presented in Parliament again, first in Lok Sabha and then in Rajya Sabha. Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu, in his own indomitable style, said, “It will be first discussed in the local sabha, then in Lok Sabha, then will go to Rajya Sabha. We will ensure that it does not go to Parlok Sabha. I am sure this bill, which is designed to make country go on development path would be passed in coming session. Just see, we will have the right numbers.”
He added that there have been precedents where an ordinance has been re-promulgated during two halves of budget session by proroguing one of the houses of Parliament. Beginning with Jawaharlal Nehru government, so far 636 ordinances have been promulgated. During UPA regime the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance was re-promulgated four times. The Readjustment and Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Ordinance was re-promulgated three times. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Amendment) Ordinance was re-promulgated twice.
Modi had devoted his last edition of Mann Ki Baat to this subject and the party is going all out to create a favourable environment in public to counter the allegations that the this bill was pro-corporate.
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