The victor meets reality: PM admits he lacks numbers in Rajya Sabha, attacks opposition for stalling reforms

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Updated: Jun 26, 2019 6:30 PM

PM Modi's speech in Rajya Sabha: Prime Minister Modi also articulated his willingness to work with the opposition on important legislative agenda.

Rajya Sabha, RSTV, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Speech, Debate, LivePrime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha on June 26, 2019.

Rajya Sabha Session: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have joined the league of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi after winning two back-to-back Lok Sabha elections with a clear majority, but he still faces the harsh reality that his ruling coalition lacks the numbers in the Rajya Sabha. Modi minced no words while slamming the Opposition for blocking important legislation such as the Triple Talaq Bill in the upper house of Parliament. In a candid admission of NDA’s weak position in the upper house, Modi said the government still needs to approach the opposition with folded hands to have its say in the Rajya Sabha where the combined opposition can block the government’s legislative agenda.

“We still need to beg to you for permission to speak in the house as we don’t have majority,” the Prime Minister said while participating in the debate on the motion of thanks to Presidential address to the joint session of both the houses of Parliament.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving for Japan Wednesday night to participate in the meeting of G20 leaders. However, the government wanted to conclude the debates on the motion of thanks to Presidential address in the Parliament before his departure. Prime Minister Modi had participated in the debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, however, it was not easy to ensure a smooth address in the Rajya Sabha without the cooperation of opposition.

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Prime Ministe Narendra Modi was mindful of the limitations when he said that the government still needs to plead to the opposition to ensure his participation in the debate.

“We still need to approach you with folded hands. We still need to plead with you so that I can speak as I have to go abroad,” said the Prime Minister in the Rajya Sabha.

This led to murmurs of protest from opposition benches, however, a quick intervention by chairman Venkaiah Naidu ensured order in the house.

Perhaps, this admission was partly due to the strong opposition he had faced in the Rajya Sabha in the last five years during his first tenure. An united opposition blocked his social reform agenda, including a bill to ban the custom of instant oral divorce, known as Triple Talaq, prevalent among a section of Muslims in India.

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Prime Minister had also faced sharp criticism of opposition in the Rajya Sabha over his shock decision to ban high value currency notes in November 2016 and the government’s inability to prevent high profile bank loan defaulters like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi from fleeing the country.

However, the Prime Minister, who is known for his witty and sharp remarks on the opposition, did not miss the opportunity to take a swipe at the opposition benches for their obstructive tactics.

“Those parties that have adopted a obstructive agenda in the Rajya Sabha have been punished by the people. People of the country are observing the behaviour of political parties both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” said the Prime Minister.

READ ALSO: Modi government’s twin decisions to sack tainted officers send shock waves through bureaucracy

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