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BJP, AGP to oppose Bill on LBA with Bangladesh in winter session

Monday, 2 December 2013 - 11:28pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

BJP and AGP today told the government in clear terms about their opposition to a constitution amendment Bill on the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh and vowed to oppose any move to bring the proposed legislation in the winter session of Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters after an all-party meeting convened by the government that AGP made it plain during discussions that it will oppose any such Bill. She said BJP has also told the government that it will oppose the Bill.

While AGP, a potential NDA ally, is likely to oppose even the introduction of the Bill, BJP is against passage of any such legislation.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath, who called today's meeting, said the Bill is on the government's list of business for the winter session of Parliament which begins on December 5.

But with BJP opposing the Constitutional Bill, it is unlikely to get passed.

Swaraj earlier told PTI that the government had not held any discussions with the main opposition on the Bill.

She said the party will discuss the matter in a meeting of BJP's Parliamentary Party executive and later with NDA floor leaders on December 4.

BJP sources said the party still continues to have serious reservations on the issue, especially with general elections just months away.

The main Opposition also maintains government will have to explain how it can alter the country's boundary as after 1973 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Keshavanand Bharti case the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be changed. This includes the definition of the country's boundary, it said. 

Being a Constitutional Bill, it cannot be cleared without BJP's support as it will require the nod of two-thirds of those members present and voting and a minimum of 50 per cent of the members being present in both Houses.

Top BJP leaders denied the party had given any assurance or reached any understanding with Bangladesh during recent meetings of its Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on the exchange of enclaves. Modi had met Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley here in July this year.

The LBA envisages exchange of 161 enclaves adversely held by India and Bangladesh in each other's territories and alterations of boundaries between the two countries in some places.

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