The government is confident of the passage of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), a constitutional amendment bill, in the coming budget session of the parliament.
The Indian government is very keen to implement the LBA as it would not only make highly incongruous and porous Indo-Bangla border manageable by making it straighter but is also being seen as a trump card that will help India-friendly Sheikh Hasina win a second-term. Return of Begum Khalida Zia’s regime may not suit India as Bangladesh National Party (BNP) is not considered friendly to India and happens to be close to fundamentalist forces like Jammat-e-Islambi Bangladesh that had opposed partition from Pakistan. The LBA bill, whose protocol was signed by prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in 2011, is hanging fire because the government has not been able to forge a consensus among the political parties.
A consensus on the bill, to be be tabled by the ministry of external affairs, is necessary as it needs constitutional amendment that requires a majority of the total membership in each house of the parliament and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting in each house. In November last year, the union cabinet had deferred a decision on the constitutional amendment bill on the land boundary agreement after some ministers pointed out to the need to have more political consensus.
However, sources said, the government has after doing a lot of background briefings on the merits of the LBA with various political parties including the BJP, is confident of securing passage of the bill.
“The parties seems to have understood the importance of the LBA bill and how it is crucial for India’s strategic interests. The BJP has proposed for a few changes in the proposed bill that may be accommodated,” said sources.
The principal opposition party BJP and regional parties like Trinamool and Asom Gana Parishad have opposed the bill so far saying that it is against Indian interests as India would accede more area to Bangladesh than it would get back. Once the Indo-Bangladesh border gets demarcated according to the LBA, India would receive 2,777.038 acres from Bangladesh and will transfer 2267.682 acres back to it.