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BJP hints at supporting Nuke-Liability Bill

August 17, 2010 17:37 IST

With government appearing to have allayed most of its concerns over the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, the Bharatiya Janata Party indicated on Tuesday that it is likely to support the legislation paving the way for smooth sailing of the controversial measure in Parliament.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's meeting with BJP top brass L K Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Tuesday ended on a positive note with both sides reaching a consensus on most issues in the draft bill.

BJP sources said the "body language" of Mukherjee appeared positive and the government reportedly assured the main Opposition that "four-five" of their main concerns were being taken care of. The right-wing party had opposed the Rs 500 crore cap on compensation terming it too less and also the no-fault liability provision. It demanded more powers to the Claims Commissioner to prevent multiple counters for appeal besides fixing of some liability for the supplier among others.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee finalised its report on Nuclear Liability Bill. The Compensation cap raised from Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,500 crore. With the BJP and the United Progressive Alliance regime arriving at a broad understanding on the issue, the idea of a giving a dissent note with the report has been dropped, sources said. The government is keen on passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha in the on-going monsoon session of Parliament.

BJP sources said if its concerns are met as promised by the government today, then it is likely to support the Bill in Lok Sabha. This would isolate the Left parties which are still opposed to the Bill.

If the BJP stands with the government on the proposed nuclear legislation, the Congress-led regime would not need the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal.

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