BJP today took a jibe at the government for its "failed attempt" to bring the prevention of communal violence bill, saying its strategy to give a "facelift" to its "sinking" image has fallen flat.
It claimed the ruling party deferred the bill as it feared defeat.
"This government has come with a specific agenda in mind.
To give a facelift to the sharp sinking image of the government, it came with a strategy to have a longer duration of this session instead of the conventional short one for the vote-on-account. The very first agenda of the government came flat," BJP's deputy leader Ravishankar Prasad in Rajya Sabha said.
He said the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill was brought in haste and "when the defeat was evident, the government deferred the bill."
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, "The Bill has therefore rightly been deferred at the introduction stage itself."
He said the response of Law Minister Kapil Sibal was that federalism is not threatened as long as the power in relation to each of these subjects vests in the State executive.
"My response was that that there is a clear distinction between legislative power and the executive power. The legislative power is the power to enact a law. Executive power is a power under the legislation to undertake necessary steps.
My objection was based on the lack of legislative competence," he said.
Expressing surprise at the government suddenly withdrawing the old Bill and coming out with a new draft, Prasad said, "This statement of the Home Minister itself is quite curious as the whole 2005 Bill which went through the exercise of Standing Committee, recommendations, changes in 2009 suddenly has been withdrawn and the new bill has been sought to be brought in a hurry."
The BJP leader said the party was raising the issue as it is against the federal principles of Constitution as Law and Order and public order is a state subject and only the state legislature can enact.
"Kapil Sibal is not answering on these issues but giving only executive answers," he said, adding that, "The cat is out of the bag now".
He charged that the whole constitutional scheme has been "bypassed" to bring this law while going against the federal principles.
Commenting on Finance Minister P Chidambaram's remark that he feels no bill can be passed in the current session of Parliament, the BJP leader said if he is acknowledging this fact, then government should have come with only a vote on account and a shorter session.