LS passes Finance Bill without debate

LS passes Finance Bill without debate

Oppn walks out; SP,BSP refuse to join Oppn ranks

Parliament Tuesday was forced to approve of important financial business,including passage of the Finance Bill without any debate after all Opposition parties,barring one,opted for the pre-scripted decision of staging a walkout,leaving only members of the Congress and its alliance partners in the Lok Sabha.

The saving grace for the UPA was the decision of the SP and BSP not to join the Opposition ranks,while the NDA failed to be united,as the SAD decided to stay on in support of Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s decision to move an amendment to end ambiguity on imposition of wealth tax on agricultural land — an issue that became a raging political controversy in Punjab.

The limited consensus on giving approval only to critical financial business — passage of the railway budget,appropriation Bills and Finance Bill as well as applying the guillotine on demands for grants to various ministries so as to avoid any resulting constitutional and financial crisis — was arrived at between the government and Opposition at an all party meet Monday. Referring to the decision,Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar asked Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj to open the discussion.

The parties that staged a walkout included the BJP,JD(U),Shiv Sena,Left parties,TDP,DMK,AIADMK and Trinamool Congress,though each stressed that they had not joined hands against the government. While the BJP said it was protesting against the way in which the government had become scam tainted,the Left parties said they were walking out because the government had attempted to subvert democratic functioning in the JPC on 2G. The AIADMK said it would not participate in the debate as their demand that JPC chairperson P C Chacko step down was not accepted. The DMK and BJD said the Centre had neglected their respective states,Tamil Nadu and Orissa. A similar submission was made by the TMC.

Sushma Swaraj maintained that the BJP was left with no option but to refuse cooperation in smooth running of the House as the government had refused to take steps in controlling corruption within. “We are not the reason why Parliament is not able to function properly. It is because of this government,which is the most corrupt government since Independence. Every session,there is a new scam,” she said,adding that the government was unrepentant even after the strictures passed by the Supreme Court over the issue of political interference in CBI functioning. “We will not pose any hurdle in the passage of financial business,but we will not be a party to it” she said.