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Narendra Modi’s reform agenda suffers a setback as united Opposition stalls Parliament over religious conversions

Modi is facing a backlash for not doing enough to rein in hardline affiliate groups that have become emboldened in their pursuit of a Hindu-dominant agenda.

By: Reuters Written by Abantika Ghosh , Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: December 22, 2014 9:47:14 pm
Narendra Modi Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing a backlash for not doing enough to rein in hardline affiliate groups.

With the Winter Session concluding on Tuesday, and no sign of the Opposition relenting in Rajya Sabha, the government appears to have made up its mind to opt for an ordinance route to push the long pending Insurance Bill.

“Constitution has remedies. All options are possible. We may or may not rely on it,” said a senior minister who did not want to be named. However, another minister added, “There is enough precedence for such an option. But the government does not want to specify it when the Parliament is sitting. We wanted it to go through the proper procedures in the House to pass it. But the Opposition is being unreasonable.”

Also Read: Conversion row: The Hindu rate of oath

Meanwhile, despite a personal request from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Rajya Sabha on Monday failed to pass the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2014, as the discord in the House entered its second week. The opposition has been demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the rising communal violence in the country — a demand rejected by the government.

Also Read: Want to protect Hindus today and 1,000 years from now: Pravin Togadia
The Delhi Bill, according to opposition leaders, may be allowed to be passed on Tuesday — the last day of the session — “as it involves several thousand poor people in Delhi”. However, there is no hope for the Insurance Bill in the current session, they said. “It is bye-bye Insurance Bill for this session. As for the bill on Delhi, we are considering whether we should pass it because it concerns the poorest of the poor in Delhi. We might pass it tomorrow, but our demand remains that the PM should make a statement. It does not require a 56-inch chest, just a 4-inch heart to come to the House,” said Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien.

The Delhi Bill seeks orderly arrangements for regularisation of unauthorised colonies, village abadi areas, including urban villages, and their extensions, as they existed on the March 31 2002, and where construction took place up to June 1, 2014.

On Monday, the “ghar wapsi” issue took backstage as members of the Samajwadi Party and the JD(U) led the charge in the well, displaying placards against black money. On a day when the Janata Parivar held a rally at Jantar Mantar, other opposition parties continued the impeccable floor coordination to pause their daily protests and let the Janata Parivar hold centre stage.

When the House reconvened after lunch and one adjournment, MoS for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tabled the Delhi Bill. But proceedings soon went out of hand, with Naqvi barely audible in the din. Despite repeated requests from deputy chairman P J Kurien that the Bill be allowed to be passed, members refused to relent. This, despite the fact that Naidu had earlier requested opposition parties to let the Bill be passed.

Kurien told the House, “This Bill is very important. We have to pass it.” When Naqvi started to talk, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury ask why was business being transacted, and Kurien assured him that no Bill would be passed in the din. “I am only requesting you,” he said. However, members did not pay heed to that request and the House had to be adjourned for the day.


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