BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has refused to buy the stand of party MP Baijayant (Jay) Panda for reducing the powers of Rajya Sabha that have invited breach of privilege notice for the Kendrapada MP in the upper house.
The ruling party in Odisha has distanced itself from the statement of Panda, who has already fallen from the grace of party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for coming closure to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruling at centre, to avoid any controversy.
Even as BJD is taking a pro-BJP stand in Parliament despite its claim of maintaining equidistance from both Congress and the saffron party, it does not want to entangle itself in controversy.
“The views expressed are purely personal and in no way expresses the stand of the BJD, which has full trust on the parliamentary form of democracy,” said an official statement released by the party on Saturday evening.
The statement further said, the significance of the upper house is not disputed in a country, having a federal structure. The BJD believes that the Rajya Sabha plays a crucial role to uphold the federal structure.
Members from at least six opposition parties Congress, JD-U, SP, CPI-M, CPI and TMC moved a breach of privilege notice against Panda, who was also an upper house member, for contempt of Rajya Sabha.
They took strong objection to Panda’s write up in which he said, the reforms must reduce the Rajya Sabha powers to block the popular mandate and favouring a rethink on veto powers of Rajya Sabha.
The BJD MP had written an opinion piece in Times of India “Less check, more balance: Reforms must reduce Rajya Sabha’s power to block the popular mandate, unparalleled globally”. He cited examples of US, UK, and Italy to show that globally it was unparalleled the way Rajya Sabha in India could block the popular mandate.
“It is instructive to consider how other democracies deal with these issues. Take for instance the UK, on whose Westminster model of parliamentary democracy our system is mostly based. Till a century ago, its House of Lords could reject all bills except money bills, just like our Rajya Sabha today. However, in 1911 the Brits amended this, reducing its powers from being able to block legislation only to delay it up to two years. Then in 1949 the House of Lords’ powers were further diluted, so that today, with minor exceptions, all it can do is delay legislation for up to a year,” said Panda in the article.