Friday, Apr 11, 2003
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By Our Special correspondent
moved by a BJP member, asking the Centre to enact a law banning cow slaughter. The move, however, met with stiff resistance from the Opposition parties, which walked out in protest.
Hours of wrangling and heated exchanges preceded the adoption of the resolution moved by Prahlad Singh Patel. The Opposition argued that Parliament did not have the legislative competence to take up the issue as it fell within the purview of the State List. Significantly, it was the BJP alone which was pushing for the resolution. None of its NDA allies was present in the House when it was taken up.
Later, outside the House, some BJP MPs said that a bill to ban cow slaughter would be brought up but since it would need an amendment to the Constitution needing a two-thirds majority, it could only be done with Congress help. Party leaders said that since the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, had virtually challenged the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, to bring up such legislation, the BJP now had no option but to do so. Ahead of the Assembly elections, it would also be seen as a good signal to its hardline Hindutva supporters.
In the House, Opposition members such as Shivraj Patil, Somnath Chattejee, Banatwala, and Priyaranjan Das Munshi argued against the resolution saying that since the matter was a State subject, Parliament was not competent to adopt such a resolution. ``We cannot accept a resolution that is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, nor can we give Parliament that kind of authority,'' Mr. Patil said. It was also pointed out that in his reply, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Hukum Deo Narain Yadav, had admitted that the subject was part of the State List.
The Samajwadi Party members, Ramjilal Suman and Akhilesh Singh, demanded that the Government make clear its views even as they charged that the BJP had misused the issue to create disturbances in the country and mislead the people.
The BJP MP, V.K. Malhotra, said ``the day we get a two-thirds majority, we will bring this bill.''
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