Amidst rare scenes of bonhomie, Rajya Sabha on Wednesday unanimously passed a Constitutional Amendment bill to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh that enables exchange of over 60 land ‘enclaves’ in each others’ territories.
Apart from their whole-hearted and unconditional support to the bill, members, across parties, also gave exceptional applause to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who piloted the bill.
The Congress was so pleased with the minister that Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested that she should be asked to introduce the other bills as well. “I congratulate you for piloting the bill which is getting a unanimous approval of the House. Many people from your side ask why other bills don’t get passed. If the government tries to pilot the bill in the manner you have done, then you will keep getting the support of other parties,” Azad said.
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While introducing the bill, which was a copy of a similar bill introduced by the UPA government in 2013, Swaraj had conceded that BJP was opposed to the bill earlier because it was of the view that the interests of Assam were not being protected adequately.
Azad said Swaraj had shown that she had the strength to speak the truth.
Other speakers also showered praise on Swaraj for the manner in which she had tried to take everyone along.
“Zuban theek rahegi, sab logon ko saath me lene ki ichcha hogi to itna bada kaam bhi ho sakta hai. Yeh siddh karne ka kaam aapne kiya (When the language is right and the intention is to take everyone on board, then big tasks can be accomplished. You have proved this,” Husain Dalwai of the Congress said.
Nominated member Ashok Ganguly said the way Swaraj had managed unanimous support of the House would remain a jewel in her crown of accomplishments.
On her part, Swaraj acknowledged the role played by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government in finalising the agreement with Bangladesh in 2011. “I have said this before and I’m saying it again that this work was started by Manmohan Singh and we are only completing it,” she said.
After accepting their greetings, Swaraj walked up to Manmohan Singh with folded hands and thanked him for finalising the agreement with Bangladesh. The bill will now go to Lok Sabha for approval.