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Dasmunshi submits report to PM
Office of profit issue
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 27
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) on March 30 to decide when Parliament should reconvene to enable the government to present a Bill defining an office of profit.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, which is expected to discuss the contents of the Bill and decide whether the government should table a fresh legislation or bring amendments to the existing law on this issue, will precede these deliberations.

These decisions were taken after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi submitted his report to the Prime Minister on the office of profit issue. Mr Dasmunshi was entrusted by Dr Singh to hold consultations with leaders of all political parties on this matter to enable the UPA government to forge a consensus on this contentious issue.

Although a final decision on the rescheduling of the Parliament session will be taken by the CCPA on Thursday, UPA sources maintained that, as of now, it appeared that the Budget session would meet from May 10 to 23 as decided earlier.

Speaking to presspersons after the submission of his report, Mr Dasmunshi said he had met leaders of all political parties, including Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani, to ascertain their views on how the government should proceed on the matter. While most parties favoured the enactment of a comprehensive legislation to plug loopholes in the existing rules, the BJP and the Samajwadi Party did not feel the need for calling an all-party meeting on this issue.

Having been stumped by Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s resignation, both these parties are not willing to make any commitment on an issue, which they had planned to exploit in the upcoming Assembly polls. The Opposition, which had launched a blistering campaign against Mrs Gandhi for holding an office of profit and against the UPA government for attempting to bring in an ordinance to protect her, is now veering around to the view that a comprehensive legislation was required to redefine an office of profit.

The Opposition changed its stance once it found itself at the receiving end as several BJP and SP leaders were also included in the list of those holding an office of profit while the BJP’s state government in Jharkhand has come close to collapse precisely on this issue. Petitions seeking disqualification of BJP and SP MPs and legislators are pending with the Election Commission.

Giving details about his discussions with the political leaders, Mr Dasmunshi maintained that the Left parties and the UPA allies had also given their consent to the proposed legislation, stating that they would go by the government’s final decision in this regard. The AIADMK and Akali Dal leaders, he said, told him that they would send in their views in writing at a later date.

“I am confident that this matter will be resolved through a consensus without any confrontation,” Mr Dasmunshi maintained.

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