Amit Shah’s anti-conversion comment should make opposition see reason

Political parties have been wasting nation’s time and money over isolated conversion issues

prahlad

Prahlad Rao | December 20, 2014 | New Delhi



In a bid to end the winter session of Parliament on a meaningful note and to send a clear message to its fringe elements, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday made a categorical assertion that it was against conversions. Tuesday (Dec 23) is the last day of winter session of the parliament.

BJP president Amit Shah held a press conference and announced that the party was against forceful conversions. With this the Narendra Modi government also seeks to avoid need for the statement to be made by the prime minister in the parliament as demanded by the opposition.

For the past week, the parliamentary business has been affected by the opposition’s non-cooperation, especially in the Rajya Sabha. First the RS opposition wanted the presence of Modi in the House and then insisted on his statement about the conversion of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. The members were not in favour of a statement by home ninister Rajnath Singh.

Many bills that will bring in reforms in financial and insurance sector are pending before the Rajya Sabha. The RS also needs to debate on coal block allocation issue. Over 35 bills were up for consideration in this winter session.

The opposition has been pushing the government into the corner over several issues and the latest being the row over alleged forced conversions in Agra. With Saturday’s strong statement against convesion, Modi-Shah duo has again taken wind out of the opposition argument.

Meanwhile, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the government is "extremely determined" to push insurance sector reforms and will not allow political obstructionism to stop it.

"The government is extremely determined to go ahead with this (insurance sector) reform and will not allow a Parliamentary disturbance to obstruct or delay a reform of this kind," he said while addressing a Ficci function.

The minister regretted that although the insurance bill, which seeks to raise FDI cap from 26 percent to 49 percent, was approved by Standing Committee of Parliament and Select Committee of Rajya Sabha," political obstructionism is being used to ensure it does not come on the agenda of Parliament."

Observing that such attitude cannot stop a reform which has support of overwhelming majority, Jaitley said, "there are enough safeguards, and constitutional system can deal with and effectively defeat this policy of political obstructions."

In an interesting comment Jaitley said that with more and more state assemblies going to polls, the ability of the members in the Rajya Sabha to create obstruction will get "further diluted."

Coal bill is an important legislation that is being held up due to political obstructionism in the Rajya Sabha, he said. "It has been unanimously passed by the Lok Sabha. All doubts have been cleared. It was not allowed to come on the agenda of Upper House for discussion," Jaitley rued.

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