The Trinamool Congress once again left the Congress red-faced as it voted against the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2012 in the Lok Sabha,reportedly because it confused the Bill with the National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) Bill on which it has objections on grounds of federalism.
I have talked to Mamata Banerjee. She said she has not asked them to vote against the Bill. She was not told that they were voting against the Bill. She has said she will look into the matter, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. He said TMC members actually did not intend to vote against the Bill but under some mistake it has been done by them. It was not the intention of any one of them. He added that the Trinamool chief has assured him that this would not be repeated in the Rajya Sabha.
Incidentally,it happened while government managers were busy securing the support of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party to not vote against the government. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was seen persuading SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bansal was seen talking to BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan.
With CPMs Basudeb Acharia also trying to get the SP chief to vote against the government,Home Minister P Chidambaram approached Yadav to solicit his support.
While the SP and BSP members played along with the government and did not vote against the Bill,Bansal admitted that there was some mix-up in the Trinamool camp. Trinamool leaders were not available for comment.
The MCI (amendment) Bill provides for extending the boards tenure till May 2013. The MCI Act was amended after the body was dissolved in 2010 following the arrest of its then president Ketan Desai by the CBI on charges of corruption. The government has since also initiated the NCHRH Bill for the creation of an overarching regulatory body that will subsume all existing councils.
In her speech opposing the Bill in the Lok Sabha,Trinamools deputy leader Ratna De said: The government is making efforts to dissolve the MCI. This is nothing but an arbitrary act. The National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill,2011 aims at decentralisation. The ministrys act is aimed at centralisation of power as it would take away the autonomy of the MCI in an undemocratic way. We feel the move to carry out this amendment to the Indian Medical Council Act is unwarranted.
The Bill was later passed by 100 votes in favour of it,while 57 members voted against it after BJD member Tathagata Satpathy sought a division. The Left and the BJD MPs staged a walkout.