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Congress opposes BJP's ordinance for Principal Secretary appointment

Friday, 11 July 2014 - 8:59pm IST | Agency: PTI

Congress today sought to put the government on tenterhooks by indicating its opposition to a bill seeking to remove legal hurdles in the appointment of former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief Nripendra Misra as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The first major achievement of the BJP government is that it started with bringing in a person-specific ordinance. They found only one person in one billion plus" to be the Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

Taking a dig at the BJP, he remarked, "Modi government is hardly born and... it had to throw to wind a policy in picking one gentleman by ordinance. This absolutely unholy haste and focus in having one person, who is challenged by law, shows that they have scant regard for the processes of law." 

"Remember what they had said when we had brought the ordinances. They had then said that this was nullification and defiance of Parliament. Now you are talking of a person focused ordinance raj."

He was asked whether the Congress would oppose the bill seeking to replace an ordinance to remove legal hurdles to Misra's appointment.

While the BJP-led NDA has a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha, it is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha. Congress leaders say in private that the bill could still be through in the Upper House with NDA seeking support from other parties.

Government brought the bill in Lok Sabha today amid objections by Trinamool Congress members. It was brought over a month after Misra was appointed to the post.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill is to replace an ordinance issued on May 28 to change a clause in the TRAI Act by which Misra could not have been appointed to any government post after retirement.

Misra, a 1967-batch retired IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2009, joined the PMO the same day the ordinance was promulgated and the bill was being brought to give his appointment the requisite legal backing.

Before the Ordinance was promulgated, the TRAI Act prohibited its chairman and members from taking up any other job in central or state governments after demitting office.

To a specific question whether Congress would oppose the bill, Singhvi countered "Do you think I am supporting?" Asked whether the Congress would oppose it tooth and nail, he said, "We cannot take tooth and nail inside the House."

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