Govt will seek broadbased consensus on all issues: PM

Govt will seek broadbased consensus on all issues PMNEW DELHI: On a day Narendra Modi dubbed the communal violence bill as a “recipe for disaster”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said government will try to evolve a broadbased consensus on issues which are of “great” legislative importance.

The Prime Minister said government seeks the cooperation of all segments of Parliament to ensure smooth passage of the legislations.

While BJP has voiced strong reservations against the communal violence bill, Samajwadi Party has threatened to disrupt Parliament if controversial bills like the one on Women’s Reservation are taken up.

“It will be our effort to evolve a broadbased consensus on all the matters which are of great legislative importance,” Singh told reporters outside Parliament House.

He was asked to comment on the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate’s opposition to the communal violence bill.

The bill, which aims at protecting minorities from targeted attacks, is not on the government’s agenda of legislative business to be transacted in the Winter session which began today.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, meanwhile, said government will try to evolve a consensus on the bill. “We will evolve a consensus on the bill,” he told reporters just after the Prime Minister spoke on the subject.

BJP has all along opposed the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill. It said it will oppose the legislation when it comes up for discussion in Parliament on the grounds that it would be a “threat to India’s communal harmony.”
Asked whether the ambitious Women’s Reservation Bill will be brought up in Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said, “We will arrive at a consensus with regard to the legislations that should be brought in Parliament for discussion and decision making and we seek the cooperation of all segments of the House to ensure smooth passage of the legislations.”

The constitutional amendment bill, which seeks to give 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies, was passed in Rajya Sabha in March 2010 amid bedlam and is pending in the lower House amid opposition by parties, including SP, JD(U) and RJD.

The Prime Minister said since the Winter session, with 12 sittings, is of a “very short duration, it is obligatory on all political parties represented in our Parliament to make their best possible efforts to get essential business transacted as quickly, as smoothly as possible.”
Later, talking to reporters, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said government was keen to enact the Lokpal Bill, but due procedure has to be followed.

“The Select Committee in Rajya Sabha has given its report. It will have to be first taken up in Rajya Sabha and because it is a Bill which is different from what was passed in Lok Sabha, it will have to come to Lok Sabha again. So, we are working on the process and I am discussing with political parties,” Nath said.

When asked whether the Parliament session will be extended as demanded by the opposition, he said a decision in this regard would be taken on December 15 or December 16.

“It will depend on the businesses…The session can always be extended even on the last day. But, we want to see how the session proceeds and what is the quantum of business that is done and then we will take a view on this,” Nath said.–PTI

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