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Saturday, July 18, 1998

Lok Pal Bill not to be taken up this session

Devesh Kumar  
NEW DELHI, July 17: Having managed to get the Finance Bill passed in the Lok Sabha today, the BJP-led Government finds itself left with virtually no business to transact during the next fortnight.

The realisation has forced the Government to drop its plans of getting the session extended for a few days beyond July 29. As a Parliamentary Affairs Ministry official put it, ``Now that the Finance Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha, the Government is left with nothing of consequence to discuss in the House.''

According to the schedule announced this afternoon by Khurana, ``The Government business during the week commencing Monday, July 20, would consist of the consideration and passage of the Electricity Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill and the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Bill, 1998.''

Curiously, the Lok Pal Bill, which was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, does not find a place in the list. Nor do the Bills grantingfull statehood to Delhi or those leading to the creation of Uttaranchal, Vananchal and Chattisgarh. And with consensus still eluding the Women's Reservation Bill, it continues to be confronted with a lot of uncertainty.

According to another official, the Lok Pal Bill was yet to be referred to the Law Ministry for its clearance. And another senior Government official claimed that the Bill had run into problems with two former Prime Ministers exhorting the Government to reconsider some of its provisions.

Addressing the BJP Parliamentary party meeting this morning, Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani informed the MPs that the Bill granting full statehood to Delhi was ``almost ready'' and work on the legislation granting full statehood to Pondicherry had started. Even though Advani claimed that the Bill granting full statehood to Delhi was likely to be introduced during the current session, officials in his Ministry saw little hope on that count as it was sill pondering over what to do with the areasfalling under the New Delhi Municipal Council.

Advani himself gave an indication to this effect when he told the MPs that the issue of whether full or part of the NDMC areas, which would be under the Centre's direct control, would constitute the national capital region, was still under consideration.

LS warning

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha today let off with a ``stern warning'' two men who attempted to raise slogans in support of creation of Uttarakhand State in Uttar Pradesh and threw leaflets from the visitor's gallery during the zero hour. Devendra Negi, 33 and Brij Mohan Upreti, 34, who shouted `Jai Uttarakhand', were immediately overpowered by security personnel and kept in custody till the rising of the House.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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