On show in Parliament: new Left-BJP bonhomie

In what is being seen as the latest instance of their increasing coordination on the floor of the House

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published:August 20, 2010 1:46 am

In what is being seen as the latest instance of their increasing coordination on the floor of the House,the Left and the BJP on Thursday joined hands in Rajya Sabha on five different issues. The issues included the tragedy at the RSS-run school building collapse in Uttarakhand,Mamata Banerjee’s recent remarks on Maoists and the Press Council’s report on paid news.

This coordination has been a recent phenomenon,where the two parties at different ends of the political spectrum have come together to corner the government on ‘common ground’. The most recent example was the agitation inside and outside Parliament on the issue of price rise.

In Rajya Sabha on Thursday,first CPI(M) MP and Politburo member Sitaram Yechury sought the Prime Minister’s intervention on railway minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s comments on the killing of Maoist leader Azad,as he accused her of ‘openly collaborating’ with the Maoists and of “constitutional impropriety”. BJP members,led by the deputy leader of Opposition SS Ahluwalia supported him,as Trinamool Congress members and ministers Saugata Roy,Dinesh Trivedi and Mukul Roy protested Yechury’s remarks.

The second opportunity came when CPI member D Raja raised the issue of the recent e-mail exchanges between Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and US deputy NSA Michael Froman where the top American official had asked New Delhi to handle the ‘noise’ on Bhopal and allegedly suggested that US investment could be impacted. BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad was agitated on the issue and he was seconded by CPM member Brinda Karat.

The third instance was when CPI(M) member Brinda Karat raised the issue of paid news,saying that the Press Council of India is suppressing vital information of the ‘scandal’. She said a sub-committee of PCI had produced a 72-page report on the menace. But instead of making the report public,efforts are on to remove the names of big media houses,which indulged in cash for news. “It would be tragic if a watchdog is reduced to a lapdog of big corporate houses,” she said,adding that “Parliament cannot remain silent when free press is subdued”.

BJP’s SS Ahluwalia said the unedited version of the report should be placed before the Parliament. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,Rudra Narayan Pany and other BJP MPs also associated themselves with the issue.

The fourth point of unity was a mention by CPM MP Moinul Hassan on the deficit rainfall in eastern India. As of last week,there was almost 25% rainfall deficiency in eastern and north-eastern India.

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