PC’s junior tables bill to avoid Oppn protest



New Delhi: Facing an Opposition boycott in Parliament over his alleged role in the 2G scam, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday avoided a major confrontation in the House when he let his junior minister introduce a bill in the Lok Sabha that was originally listed in his name.

Though it is a norm for Ministers of State to introduce bills in Parliament, the list of Monday's Lok Sabha business mentioned that the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2011, will be introduced by Chidambaram.

Chidambaram was not in the house when Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran moved the bill that amends the Arms Act, 1959, which regulates the acquisition and transfer of arms and ammunition.

The bill was moved peacefully with opposition MPs smiling at one another.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had at the start of the Winter Session decided to boycott Chidambaram in Parliament for his alleged complicity in the 2G spectrum scam during his tenure as the finance minister 2004-08.

The government has denied the Home Minister had any role in fixing the prices for the 2G telecom licenses, for which the then communications minister A Raja has been jailed pending trial.

The opposition boycott had threatened to jeopardise at least seven crucial bills that the Home Minister was to introduce in Parliament during the Winter Session that ends on December 22. The BJP and other NDA parties have not allowed Chidambaram to speak in the House.

However, it seems the way out has been found.

Sources said that if the Opposition does not relent, Chidambaram's two junior ministers - Ramachandran and Jitendra Singh - would move the bills in the Houses.

It also remains to be seen if Chidambaram would be allowed to speak when the House debates the bills that have been introduced or will be introduced. As the minister, he is supposed to reply to a debate and clear doubts about the bill, if any, before the House passes it.

The ministry has two controversial bills -- the enemy property bill and the communal violence bill -- already pending in Parliament. Seven more draft legislations are supposed to be introduced in the Winter Session.

They include the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011, the New Delhi Municipal Council (Amendment) Bill, Citizenship Amendment Bill and the Prevention of Torture Bill.

IANS