BJP-led NDA government had faced embarrassment in Rajya Sabha after Opposition forced the ruling dispensation to drop a crucial clause from the bill granting constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC), according to Indian Express reports. Opposition managed to seize the opportunity as there were not enough BJP MPs in the Upper House in spite of Prime Minister Narendra Modi directing party lawmakers to attend Parliament Session.
What is the bill and the clause
The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017, was passed minus Clause 3 which dealt with the composition of the commission.
What happened in Rajya Sabha
In the Upper House, Congress MPs Digvijaya Singh, B K Hariprasad and Husain Dalwai moved an amendment for the inclusion of a woman member and a minority member in the National Commission. The amendments needed to be passed with a simple majority, and it did with a 74-52 margin. But that is when the situation changed. The amendments had passed with a simple majority but for the clause amended to become part of the Bill, it needed a two-third majority since it was a Constitution amendment Bill.
Notably, during the last BJP Parliamentary party meeting on July 25, PM Modi had asked party MPs to attend the Parliament session. He had told them it was “mandatory” for every MP to be present in the House during the sessions and that he would call them any time he wanted. It has been learned that party chief Amit Shah has taken serious note of the attitude of the MPs. Even Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar was not present.