New Delhi, March 30: Parliament will sit again from May 10 to 23 to try and solve the sticky problem of offices of profit once and for all.
The Centre hopes two weeks would be enough to build a consensus among all the parties and get a comprehensive law passed, government sources said.
There will, however, be no all-party meeting on the subject, parliamentary affairs minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi said, explaining that the BJP and the Samajwadi Party were against the idea. But leader of the Lok Sabha and defence minister Pranab Mukherjee will sound the parties on what kind of legislation they want.
The dates for the session were set today at a meeting of the cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by Das Munshi, Mukherjee, T.R. Baalu, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sharad Pawar, Shivraj Patil, Ambika Soni, Suresh Pachauri and Prithviraj Chavan.
The BJP and the Samajwadi Party greeted the announcement with knowing smirks.
The BJP pooh-poohed the government stand that this wasn’t a special session but the second leg of the budget session, saying the Centre’s somersault after having Parliament adjourned sine die proved that it had indeed planned an ordinance.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party claimed vindication, choosing to read in the move a tacit Congress acknowledgement that its attempt to bait the Samajwadi Party had boomeranged.
“The government had no option but to reconvene Parliament to clear the mess created by the Congress’s vindictive politics,” Samajwadi chief whip Mohan Singh said.
“The Congress game plan not only backfired but also threatened the stability of the Centre as well as the governments in several states. We finally won. Now, can anybody explain why the tragedy of disqualification was meted out to Jaya Bachchan'”
To BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, the Centre had let “the cat out of the bag”.
“Both the Houses are being reconvened from May 10'. If this had to be done, why had Parliament to be adjourned sine die instead of adjourning it till May 10 as was planned earlier'” he asked.
“The cat is out of the bag. It is clear the government wanted to bring an ordinance on the office-of-profit issue by abruptly adjourning Parliament sine die.”
Asked if the BJP would support legislation exempting MPs holding offices of profit from disqualification, he said: “Let them show the bill; we will consider it.”