PM Modi's speech in Rajya Sabha: A combative opposition has twice amended the motion of thanks to Presidential address during PM Modi's first tenure which is a record.
Parliament Session: In a big symbolic victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Rajya Sabha Wednesday passed the motion of thanks to the Presidential address without making any changes. Usually, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha approve motion of thanks to the President’s customary address to the joint sitting of both the houses without making any changes. However, There are five occasions in the history of the country when the Rajya Sabha has amended the motion of thanks to the Presidential address. PM Modi is the only Prime Minister during whose tenure a combative opposition has already twice amended the motion of thanks to Presidential address in a bid to embarrass his government.
Most of the opposition members, including Congress members Chhaya Verma, T. Subbarami Reddy, Ripun Bora and CPM member TK Rangarajan withdrew their motion of amendments. But CPI’s D. Raja did not withdraw his amendments which was defeated by a voice vote. However, D. Raja did not press for division of votes that would have delayed the passage of the motion of thanks.
The combined opposition including Congress has the numbers in the Rajya Sabha to block any motion or legislation moved by the government. In the past, the united opposition had twice used its numerical strength to embarrass Modi government in its first tenure by amending the motion of thanks to Presidential addresses.
Also, the motion of thanks to the address delivered by President Ram Nath Kovind in January this year was passed by the Rajya Sabha without any debate in the house due to continued disruptions. It clearly reflected the tense relations between both the NDA and opposition parties just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in April-May this year.
In its entire history, the Rajya Sabha has only five times amended the motion of thanks to Presidential Address. Once each during the time of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, VP Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, in last three years alone, the motion of thanks to Presidential Address has been twice amended during Prime Minister Modi’s tenure.
What is Presidential Address
Article 87 of Indian constitution requires President of India to address a special joint session of Parliament after conclusion of every general election and also at the start of the first session of Parliament each year.
This year, President Ram Nath Kovind has delivered two addresses to the joint session of Parliament. He delivered his first address in January this year as the budget session called in January-February this year to present the Interim Budget was the first session of the year therefore President Ram Nath Kovind addressed it.
The budget session of January-February was also the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha. The ongoing budget session is the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha and President is required by the Constitution to address the first session of a newly constituted Lok Sabha, therefore he addressed a special joint sitting on June 20.
Usually, a new government uses the opportunity to outline its vision for the next five years. However, this time Modi government not only used this opportunity to outline its vision for the next five years but it also highlighted its achievements of the last five years.
Although, it is called Presidential address but President’s speech is prepared by the incumbent government which typically uses the occasion to list out its achievement or outline its vision for future.