Saturday, May 25, 2013
Last Updated: 24 May 21:23 PM IST
20 November 2012Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 20 NOV: Ridiculing Trinamul Congress plans to move a no-trust motion in the Lok Sabha, the government today expressed confidence about its numbers, which it was ready to establish “as and when required”.
“For the first time in my 32 years in Parliament, I am seeing a party with 19 members moving a no-confidence motion,” an upbeat parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said in a brief interaction with reporters ahead of the winter session beginning on Thursday.
Projecting Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as a mercurial leader, he said, “She was on this (government) side till the last session, now she is on that (Opposition) side.”
Taking a dig at Trinamul, he said, “a former ally of 19 members threatening us does not mean it is a threat. It does not mean we are counting our numbers. We are confident of our numbers ... We are not a government without numbers. As and when required we will establish it on the floor of the House.”
Mr Nath, who had convened a meeting of the chief whips of all political parties earlier in the day, said Trinamul leaders did mention that they planned to move a no-confidence motion on the first day but “no other party made any comment on their support”.
Leader of the Lok Sabha and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also dismissed any threat to the government. “We are not not afraid. We have the numbers,” he said separately.
Insisting that FDI in retail was a policy matter, Mr Nath said that never in the past has there been a voting in Parliament on a policy issue. When it was pointed out that in 2001 Congress had pressed for discussion on the decision on disinvestment in the then state-owned Balco, Mr Nath said, “It was not on a policy issue. It was not on a framework issue. It was on a singular matter.”
On demands by political parties for a discussion on FDI in retail, he said it was for the Lok Sabha Speaker to decide under what rule a discussion should take place.
Referring to the frequent disruption of Parliament, Mr Nath said the situation has come to such a pass that even journalists do not ask about specific issues that will be raised in Parliament. “Now, it has come to a stage when questions are whether Parliament would even run at all.”
Mr Nath said the government would make a sincere endeavour to achieve as much consensus as possible on transacting its business in Parliament.
The government has listed 35 Bills ~ 25 for consideration and passing and 10 for introduction during the winter session.
According to Mr Nath, out of the 20 working days, four days were earmarked for private members' bills, leaving just 16 days for other business. “I hope this will be a constructive and fruitful session,” he said.
Mr Nath said the government was making effort to bring the proposed food security bill and the land acquisition Bill.
Among the Bills to be taken up for consideration and passage are Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, and Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill. Discussion and voting on supplementary demands for grants (general), 2012-13, too is on the agenda, he said.