Chidambaram's junior tables bill amid opposition boycott

Chidambaram's junior tables bill amid opposition boycott

Chidambaram's junior tables bill amid opposition boycott

A home ministry spokesperson said it was normal for Minister of State for Home M. Ramachandran to move the bill that amends the Arms Act, 1959, for regulation of acquisition and transfer of arms and ammunition.

The list of Monday's Lok Sabha business mentioned that the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2011, would be introduced by Chidambaram.

"Bills are generally listed in the name of cabinet ministers and ministers of state do move the bill," the spokesperson told IANS, adding that it had nothing to do with the opposition boycott.

Chidambaram was not in the house when Ramachandran moved the bill. 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 that the home minister had any role in fixing the prices for the 2G telecom licenses, for which 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 Dec 22.

The BJP and other NDA parties have not allowed Chidambaram to speak in the house.
Last week, when Chidambaram moved the New Delhi Municipal Council (Amendment) Bill 2010, which seeks to give local representatives more say in the civic body, BJP members created ruckus and raised slogans, "go back, go back".  The din made the minister barely audible but the bill was passed.

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

The ministry has two controversial bills -- the enemy property bill and the communal violence bill -- already pending in parliament. Six more draft legislations were supposed to be introduced in the winter session.

They include the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011, Citizenship Amendment Bill and the Prevention of Torture Bill.