Trinamool ditches Cong again
Getting bills passed is becoming a nightmare for the UPA government. Even a simple bill like the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2012, introduced by health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, appeared to be in trouble in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Had it not been for the Samajwadi Party, the bill would have suffered a major setback.
The bill is to extend the tenure of the MCI's Board of Governors till May 2013 as its present tenure ends on May 14.
A familiar scene of the ruling coalition's numbers game was witnessed in the House as UPA constituent Trinamool Congress voted against the bill, and the SP, an outside supporter, came to the government's rescue.
Parliamentary affairs minister PKBansal tried to make light
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A near empty treasury bench caused panic for the Congress and its ministers jumped into action to plead with the SP and the BSP to vote in its favour when the Opposition pressed for division of votes.
Azad and home minister P Chidambaram rushed to talk to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav while Bansal was seen pleading with BSP's Dara Singh Chauhan to forget the differences of opinion over the functioning of the MCI and vote with the government even as the opposition protested shouting: "No lobbying in the lobby."
The two parties obliged and the Bill scraped through (out of the 157 members present, 100 voted in favour) even as a large number of Congress MPs were absent. Left and BJD MPs staged a walkout. A relieved Azad later went and shook hands with Mulayam and other partners.
Earlier, BJP's Maneka Gandhi and Azad were involved in a war of words when she alleged corruption in granting of licences to medical colleges. A visibly angry Azad took umbrage of allegations and challenged her to substantiate them.
While attacking the MCI, Maneka alleged that its Board of Governors (BoG) charge anything between Rs 4 crore and 5 crore as bribe for giving licenses to medical colleges.
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