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BJP bill breather

New Delhi, May 11: Rajnath Singh today said the BJP would allow the food security and land acquisition bills “to be passed” in Parliament’s monsoon session, hinting at a dilution of the party’s stand, but left the demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation to his conscience.

Sources said yesterday’s twin resignations — of law minister Ashwani Kumar and railway minister Pawan Bansal — appeared to have blunted the party’s graft campaign against the Congress.

“Had the UPA sacked the two tainted ministers, the budget session could have been saved and the bills passed,” the BJP chief said.

Asked if the BJP would allow the bills to be passed in the monsoon session, Rajnath said “yes” before adding a rider — “provided no other corruption scandal comes up”.

Rajnath, however, insisted there had been no dilution of his party’s demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation, saying Manmohan Singh would be left with no option but to step down if he “honestly” introspected. “If the Prime Minister does an honest introspection, then resignation is the only option left for him,” he said.

But Rajnath conceded that the land and the food bills were “crucial” for a major chunk of the population and needed to be passed in the monsoon session, likely to start in late July. “The food security bill concerns two-thirds of the population while the land acquisition bill is associated with farmers. We want the bills to be passed but with some amendments,” he said.

Rajnath’s assertion marks a significant shift from the BJP’s unrelenting demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation that had washed out the second leg of the budget session and blocked the food and the land bills.

Sources said the party had, at a recent meeting of some two dozen leaders and office bearers, assessed that a negative campaign on corruption did not appear to be swaying voters, as the Karnataka results had shown.

Party insiders said the leadership was taken by surprise by yesterday’s resignations and felt the twin moves had taken the steam out of their attack. The party has also assessed that blocking the two bills could send a wrong signal to voters.

Rajnath today announced a nationwide “jail bharo” from May 27 to June 2. Sources said the protest was aimed at gearing up cadres for elections.