BJP slams UPA on boundary bill

New Delhi, Dec 19 : The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday slammed the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for hurriedly introducing in the Rajya Sabha the controversial Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) (Constitutional Amendment) Bill on Wednesday, just ahead of the sine die adjournment of the winter session.

The bill, which aims to ratify the land boundary treaty with Bangladesh, has been slammed already by the Trinamool Congress ruling the West Bengal state (which has a long border with Bangladesh) as well as the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) party of Assam.

"We completely expresse our disapproval," said BJP spokesperson and senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad adding that there is a profound sense of regret in the manner it was done hastily.

He said it should not have been done in such a hurry and there should have been discussion before it was tabled.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday slammed the Centre over the the introduction of the Bill on the proposed Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh in the Parliament.

"It is extremely unfortunate and shameless on the part of the Union Government to forcefully introduce the Land Boundary Agreement Bill in the Parliament just seconds before the sine die adjournment of the current Session," Banerjee said in a Facebook post.

Calling the move a 'political gimmick', Banerjee targeted the ruling Congress as she said: "It is a political gimmick of a particular political party ruling the country to serve its political purpose before General Election. This unilateral act of introduction of the Bill without consent of the state government has set an alarming trend of bulldozing and imposing an issue which involves not only West Bengal, but also Assam, Tripura and parts of North Eastern States."

"We are not accepting, not accepting and not accepting. The State Government will not implement it. Not an inch of land of our state should be given away. Together, we will fight public battle for West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and North Eastern region, including other parts of the country. We love our motherland," she said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid introduced the Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013 in the upper house despite protest by Trinamool and AGP lawmakers.

Later Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha (BJP) Arun Jaitley wrote to the deputy chairman of the house against its introduction. He wrote: "I had written to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha that I wish to oppose the introduction of the above mentioned Constitution Amendment Bill regarding the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh."

"I was not allowed to orally raise the objection in the House on account of the environment that existed at that time and the ruling of the Deputy Chairman," Jaitley said.

Under the agreement, India will have to transfer 111 enclaves measuring 17,160.63 acres to Bangladesh and in lieu get 51 enclaves measuring 7,110.2 acres.

Jaitley wrote: "My objection is based on the fact that after 1973 when the concept of 'basic structure of constitution' was evolved in the Kesavanand Bharati Case, the Parliament has no jurisdiction to alter the territory of India. The territory represents the sovereignty and are both a part of the basic structure of Constitution and thus unamendable.
"I was not allowed to orally raise the objection in the House on account of the environment that existed at that time and the Ruling of the Deputy Chairman. However, a written reply dated December 13, 2013 by Shri Salman Khurshid, Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs was given to me."

"The Minister's reply relies on certain judgments of the Supreme Court. None of the judgments however deals with the issue that territory is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and hence unalterable," wrote Jaitley.

--IBNS (Posted on 19-12-2013)

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