Tuesday, Mar 26, 2002
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GUWAHATI, MARCH 25. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has decided to oppose the Prevention of Terrorism Bill (POTO) in tomorrow's joint session of Parliament by abstaining from voting, though it had favoured the ordinance last week.
The AGP president, Brindabon Goswami, said here today that the AGP was never a part of the NDA and the party would oppose the Bill.
Panja to vote
Defying the Trinamool Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee's directive to party MPs to stay away from the joint sitting of Parliament on the anti-terrorism bill, the rebel party MP, Ajit Panja, said in New Delhi that he would vote in favour of the legislation.
Panja told reporters here that if any whip were issued to the MPs to remain absent, it would not be binding on him as the Trinamool Congress had suspended him from the party.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was gripped by sharp differences on the party's stand on the Bill, with senior leader Jagannath Mishra questioning the party's decision to support it. In a letter to the NCP chief, Sharad Pawar, Mr. Mishra described the Bill as ``undemocratic and fascist'' and urged him to instruct his MPs to vote against it.
However, the Union Law Minister, Arun Jaitley, said in New Delhi the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre would prove to the world tomorrow in the joint session of Parliament that the ``country stands united in its fight against terrorism'', debunking the ``stubborn'' stand of the Congress against POTO.
``Let wiser counsel prevail on the Congress. Even the United Nations has adopted an enforceable resolution after the September 11 attack asking the nations to oppose terrorism and adopt suitable laws to counter the menace,'' he said.
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