NEW DELHI, Aug 12 – In a major setback, the Centre held back its decision to introduce the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) Bill in the Rajya Sabha in the wake of lack of consensus in the Parliament.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013 was listed for introduction along with four other Bills. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was to introduce the Bill for a further amendment of the Constitution of India to give effect to the acquiring of territories by India and transfer of certain territories to Bangladesh in pursuance of the agreement and its protocol entered into between the governments of India and Bangladesh.
However, the Centre surprised the MPs, when at the meeting of the leaders of political parties, held in the chamber of the Rajya Sabha Chairman, Syed Hamid Ansari, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Rajiv Shukla announced that the government has decided not to introduce the Bill pending further discussion with the Opposition parties.
Meanwhile, Khurshid informed the media that the Bill will be tabled in Parliament next week.
AGP parliamentary group leader Biren Baishya, who was present at the meeting, told this newspaper that at the start of the meeting he made his party’s intention to oppose the Bill clear.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Paban Singh Ghatowar, when asked, said that the Centre would like to hold further discussion with the BJP before introducing the Bill in the House. The Prime Minister had last week met the Opposition leaders of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively, in an apparent attempt to break the logjam.
Meanwhile, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has convened an all-party meeting on Tuesday, where the issue of the Constitution Amendment Bill is likely to figure.
The BJP has already announced that it would oppose the Bill that proposes to transfer India’s territories to Bangladesh. However, there were differences in the party over opposing the Bill at the introductory stage.
At the party briefing, BJP spokesmen Shahnawaj Hussain and Prakash Javedkar declined to comment on the government’s decision. “Please ask the government why it decided not to introduce the Bill,” they said.