A united Opposition in Rajya Sabha today scuttled the government's move to take up two key legislations, saying the move would compromise on debates on the Railway and General Budgets.
The legislations are The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation Bill, 2016 and the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
The ruling NDA is in a minority in the Upper House.
Soon after the House met after lunch, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi urged the Chair to allow taking up of the Enemy Property Bill as Home Minister Rajnath Singh was present in the House. The Bill has already been passed in Lok Sabha.
This was strongly objected to by opposition members, who wanted the Railway and General budgets to be taken up first and consider taking up the bills only thereafter.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed readiness to extension of the session by a day or two, beyond March 16 when it is scheduled to end, to discuss bills like Aadhar.
"There will be no reduction in Railway and General Budget discussion...This is for the first time that the opposition wants to pass bills and extend the session by two days, if government wants to get key legislations passed. But it is the government which is not forthcoming," he said.
He alleged that the government does not intend to bring the Aadhar bill in the Upper House and allow it to become a legislation without discussion in this House.
"We want a discussion on the Aadhar Bill even if it is for an hour, so that it is not passed without debate," he said.
As Naqvi sought an hour's time to get the Enemy Property bill passed and asked opposition not to view this from "a communal angle", objections were raised by Naresh Agarwal (SP), D Raja (CPI) and Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC).
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said these were valid points raised by the members and the bill can be taken up only afterwards. "These are valid points raised. I agree with you," he said, adding that if government wants and members are ready, it can extend the session.
A similar scene was witnessed later when the government tried to take up the Whistler Blowers bill for consideration and passage after the reply of Railway Minister to a debate on Rail Budget.
Opposition parties reminded Naqvi that the government has assured it will not bring any bill for passage and the agreement between the government and the Opposition was to pass the General Budget and Railway Budget.
At this, Naqvi said Minister of State for Personnel and Training Jitendra Singh has been coming prepared to pass the bill for days but has to return everyday.
"My submission is that the honourable minister has been coming to the House for last money days with the all the files on the Whistle Blowers Bill and going back. He is called Whistle Blower outside. This should come to an end," Naqvi said with a smile appealing to the Opposition to utilize the remaining time today to pass the bill.
The Whistle Blowers Bill was moved in the Rajya Sabha during Winter session itself.
Opposition Leader in Rajya Sabha Azad said since
discussion on Railway budget was over, the House should take up the General Budget and not a bill.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien pleaded helplessness in taking up the bill as neither Finance Minister Arun Jaitley nor his Deputy Jayant Sinha was in the House.
At that time, Jaitley was replying to the discussion on the General Budget in Lok Sabha.
While Azad insisted the General Budget is a "priority", Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (Trinamool Congress) asked why the bill is being taken up now when the minister (Naqvi) had assured that no bill would be taken up. "On that assurance let us adjourn the House," he said.
Kurien appealed to the House to take up the bill but the Opposition members remained adamant.
Naqvi took a dig at Congress, saying "it's your bill and you want to adjourn the House."
Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) also opposed taking up the bill, saying it cannot be passed today as there was not much time left.
Naqvi then said discussion on the General Budget could be taken up as three Cabinet Ministers were already in the House and the Finance Minister could also join later but Kurien did not agree to start the discussion in the absence of Jaitley or his Deputy.
As there was no agreement, the House was adjourned for the day after taking up Special Mentions.