NEW DELHI: In a major loss of face to the UPA government, the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday forced two important Bills to be deferred. The Border Security Force (Amendment) Bill and the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill could not be taken up for discussion.
On the Whistle Blowers Bill, Opposition members wanted more time to move amendments. As for the Border Security Force (Amendment) Bill—which is aimed at allowing the Border Security Force to operate at places other than border areas—efforts of Home Minister Chidambaram to explain its details went in vain as Opposition members insisted it would encroach upon rights of the States and wanted it to be deferred till a scheduled meeting of the Centre with Chief Ministers on April 16.
Chidambaram said, “In the Standing Committee chaired by Venkaiah Naidu, every clause has been unanimously supported and recommended without any change.” Repeated clarifications by the Home Minister did not satisfy the Opposition. Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said, “In some of the issues which are being raised in that Bill, there are Centre-State issues which are involved.”
Elaborating, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, “Home Minister has clarified saying that no forces would be deployed unless asked by the State government. The Bill does not contain this. The Bill’s wording says that the area of BSF’s operation can be extended to an extended area of other parts of the States, which is something objectionable.”
AIADMK member V Maitreyan said all issues affecting Centre- State relations should be dealt with separately. “Till such time, no such Bill should be brought in this House.”
When MoS, Personnel, Public Grievances and pensions, V Narayanasamy wanted to introduce the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, Opposition members asked that it be tagged with the Lokpal Bill. They sought time to mo­ve amendments on the Bill and forced its deferment.