BJP averse to extending monsoon session by another week

 The BJP on Wednesday conveyed to the UPA government that it was not in favour of extending the monsoon session of Parliament by another week, during a meeting with senior central ministers which also sought their support to push through key bills on land acquisition and insurance, with only two days left for legislative business.

The government would like to bring the Securities and Exchange Board of India Bill and RTI Amendment Bill in Parliament. Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath met top BJP leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley in Parliament as the political heat generated by the CBI wanting to question Prime Minister Manmohan Singh threatened to derail remaining game changer Land Acquisition Bill in Rajya Sabha, which it did eventually.

The UPA government has already agreed to accept some of the amendments moved by the BJP on the Land Acquisition Bill, especially on dropping the clause that it would be applicable retrospectively, besides altering the land-for-land compensation scheme to include cash as remuneration as well. Due to this, the BJP, which also cannot afford to oppose the bill as it would seem to be going against farmers’ interests, agreed to lend support to it. The bill was later passed in the Rajya Sabha.

It is learnt that the BJP leaders, in their meeting with Chidambaram and Nath, apprised them that they would not allow both Houses to run if they were stopped from speaking on the missing coalgate files, to which the government agreed. The BJP leaders had also conveyed their dismay to the prime minister on Tuesday night, during a dinner meeting at Manmohan Singh’s residence, on the UPA government ignoring the Opposition, which seeks specific response on the missing coal block allocation files.

The main opposition party, however, conveyed that they would not give in to the UPA's demands of extending the session by another week as it would amount to giving political mileage, which the party could ill afford, said BJP sources.

Even the left parties were not in favour of it. “The session has already been extended once, because of which several members have had to cancel their programmes. So, extending it again is not done. What the government can do is to call an early winter session,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.

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