Pending bills:Govt reaches out to BJP for support

Government today reached out to main opposition BJP to get support on pending legislations such as enemy property amendment bill and issues like hike in salaries of MPs.

New Delhi: Government today reached out to
main opposition BJP to get support on pending legislations
such as enemy property amendment bill and issues like hike in
salaries of MPs which are leading to pandemonium and
adjournments in Parliament.

Home Minister P Chidambaram met BJP Parliamentary Party
leader L K Advani to discuss contentious issues in the current
session of Parliament. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya
Sabha Arun Jaitley was also present.

Later, Advani had a telephonic conversation with Leader
of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee about these issues.

Sources said the government wants to make some changes in
the Ordinance on enemy property which is to be moved in Lok
Sabha as Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2010.

However, the BJP wants the Ordinance to be made into a
Bill without any changes and Advani conveyed this to
Chidambaram, sources said.

BJP feels that the changes sought by the government in
the proposed enemy property bill are on the lines of the "Shah
Bano case".

The suggestions for change made by the government would
benefit people like Raja of Mehmoodabad, who will get the
property back, but lead to poor compensation and eviction of
several people living in these properties, party sources felt.

The father of erstwhile Raja of Mehmoodabad Amir Mohammad
Khan had migrated to Pakistan and all his properties in
Lucknow, Barabanki and other places in India had been declared
enemy property in 1968. Khan filed and won a case in Supreme
Court arguing that he was a minor at the time of partition and
since he did not migrate, he was entitled to these properties.

A group of leaders from the minority community, led by
Minority Affairs Minister Salman Kursheed and including BJP
leader Najma Heptullah, have joined hands and asked the
government to change the Enemy Property Act.

The issue of hike in salaries of MPs, which had led to
adjournments in Lok Sabha yesterday and today, also came up
for discussion between Advani and the two ministers.

BJP conveyed to the government that it would support the
move provided the UPA regime also announced some mechanism
like formation of a "quasi-judicial body" on the lines of the
pay commission to deal with increase in salary of MPs from
time to time.

"MPs are the only category among the salaried class who
decide their own salary and this is highly undesirable. This
practice should be stopped and a mechanism should be formed
to increase their salaries from time to time like it is done
for bureaucrats and others," a senior BJP leader said.

Though Advani has asked his party MPs not to speak on
the issue of their salary hike, the general opinion in the
party -- including the top brass -- is that there is a need
for a pay jump. "Some MPs have to maintain upto three establishments -- in their constituency, district and in New Delhi -- and this should also be taken into account while increasing their
salary," a BJP leader said.

But the party is against MPs themselves demanding a
salary hike.

"We are in the business of public service and in public
service you do not become a trade union and demand a hike in
your salary....We do not decide either way (increase or status
quo). It does not behove well of us. In future, it should be
fixed to some index (like inflation)," Leader of Opposition in
Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

BJP agreed with the government that disruptions on the
issue of salary hike should be stopped and Advani requested
Mukherjee to solve the issue at the earliest.

The nuclear liability bill was mentioned in passing
during the meeting, according to sources.


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