New Delhi, Dec 5:
As a controversy rages on a bill to curb communal violence, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Thursday his government was making efforts to build consensus on “all matters of legislative importance”.
His comments came after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi wrote to him seeking “wider consultation” on the bill.
“It will be our effort to get broad-based consensus on all matters which are of great legislative importance,” the prime minister said in response to a question on Modi’s opposition to the bill. He was speaking to reporters ahead of the winter session of parliament that began Thursday.
Modi, in a string of tweets Thursday, said he had written to the prime minister opposing the bill and also questioning its timing.
“Communal Violence Bill is ill-conceived, poorly drafted and a recipe for disaster! My letter to PM opposing this bill. Have urged the prime minister to seek wider consultation with the states and various stakeholders of the bill before proceeding any further on a bill like this,” Modi said in a tweet.
“Political considerations and vote bank politics rather than genuine concerns are guiding the bill. The timing of the bill is also suspicious,” he said.
Modi also said the bill would violate India’s federal structure.
“The bill is in clear violation of India’s federal structure. The centre is busy forming laws on matters that are in the state list. If a legislation has to be implemented by the states, should it not be legislated by the states? If implemented, the Communal Violence Bill would fragment society and increase violence. It will have results opposite of the stated objective,” he said.
The bill is likely to be taken up in the winter session of parliament.
The prime minister, meanwhile, also urged all parties to ensure a smooth parliament session.
“This session of parliament is of a short duration, and therefore it is obligatory for all political parties… to make their best possible effort to (run the) business of the two houses as easily and smoothly as possible.
“We seek the co-operation of all segments of the house for the smooth passing of the essential legislation,” he said.
The winter session is scheduled to end Dec 20.