New Delhi: Setting aside their week-long acrimony over conversion issue, members belonging to both sides on Tuesday joined hands in Rajya Sabha to pass a bill that will benefit lakhs of slum dwellers in the national capital facing threat of demolition.
"We do not want full-fledged discussion (on NCT bill). Because it is related to poor people who come from all over the country...Their houses remain intact, we support the bill," Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Azad, whose membership ends in February, said Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had stopped one such demolition in Delhi recently. He said houses of the poor people should not be demolished during chilly months of December and January.
The Rajya Sabha witnessed disruptions and adjournment for several days with Opposition demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reply on the religious conversion issue which was not acceptable to government.
However, all wanted a happy-ending of the session.
While supporting the Bill moved by Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said it was good that on the last day of the session all members are doing a good job to pass the bill.
Derek O'Brien (TMC) said this will benefit 60 lakh poor slum dwellers. "This is not a New Year gift or Christmas gift...It is their right," he said.
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the TMC member said while he was active on Twitter and Facebook, he should come to the House also and speak out his mind.
As members were giving their opinion on the bill, Modi came in the House and stayed till it was adjourned sine-die.
Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said he was happy that members kept the human angle in mind and agreed to pass the bill.
"This government has done good work for the benefit of poor in the last six months," he said.
Grabbing the opportunity of Modi's presence, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the opposition was still ready to discuss the conversion issue and hoped the Prime Minister would listen to the members' views and reply.
At one point, there was a war of word between Congress and ruling party members when Vijay Goel (BJP) said the UPA government did nothing for slum dewellers.
"You (Congress) could have regularised the colonies. During the period between 2006 and 2014, you did nothing to regularise the unregulaised colonies," he said.
This infuriated Congress members. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien requested Goel not to vitiate the atmosphere.
Parvez Hashmi (Cong) on the other said MCD, which was ruled by BJP, did not clear files to outline boundaries of slums. D Raja (CPI) suggested housing should be the right of everyone.