Triple Talaq Bill: NDA floor managers ensured that despite the rhetoric several opposition parties actually helped the government to pass the bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha: In a big victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union government Tuesday cleared Rajya Sabha test to pass a bill to ban the practice of instant oral divorce practiced by a section of Muslims in the country. The United opposition that stood like a rock to block Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet reform agenda, popularly known as Triple Talaq Bill, before the Lok Sabha election crumbled like a pack of cards in the upper house where NDA still lacks the majority. In a house of 240 members, 99 members voted in favour of the bill and only 84 members voted against the bill. Rajya Sabha has a strength of 245 members but five seats are vacant at present.
According to opposition MPs, BJP’s ally Janata Dal (United)’s decision to walk out of the upper house tilted the delicate balance in favour of the government and against the opposition’s unity.
“Parties like JD(U) and AIADMK that spoke vehemently against the bill during the debate but later walked out at the time of voting were actually dancing to the tunes of the BJP,” said CPM’s Rajya Sabha member KK Ragesh.
“Parties after parties in the opposition camp spoke vehemently against the bill but many parties later staged a walk out. It was a stage managed walkout,” KK Ragesh told Financial Express Online.
It was surprising for some opposition members when JD(U) decided to walk out in the protest. It was JD(U)’s opposition to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill that had derailed Prime Minister Modi’s last ditch effort to pass the law just before the Lok Sabha election in April-May this year.
When the Union government tried to introduce the bill in the newly constituted Lok Sabha last month, it faced stiff resistance from Nitish Kumar’s party that walked out against the government’s move to introduce the bill in the house.
How Triple Talaq Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha
The decision of four parties: AIADMK (13), Janata Dal-United (6), BJD (7) and BSP (4), to walk out at the time of voting tilted the balance in the government’s favour in this game of nerves.
According to a PTI report, four Congress members: Vivek Tankha, Pratap Singh Bajwa, Mukut Mithi and Ranjib Biswal were absent during the voting despite the party, while one member Sanjay Singh from Uttar Pradesh resigned from the party membership Tuesday morning.
Similarly, five members of the Samajwadi Party, which has 12 members in the house, the fourth largest group in the Rajya Sabha after BJP, Congress and TMC, were absent during the voting. It came as a big relief for the NDA floor managers and revealed the cracks within the opposition camp. In addition to the Congress and Samajwadi Party members, one member each from Trinamool Congress, DMK, IUML and Kerala Congress and nominated member KTS Tulsi, who is close to the Congress, was also absent during the time of voting. It came as a big relief for NDA floor managers.
Another big jolt to the opposition unity came when NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar and his party colleague and former civil aviation minister Praful Patel were also absent during the voting.
“These parties actually supported the bill,” an opposition member in the Rajya Sabha told Financial Express Online, requesting not to be named.
Samajwadi Party member Javed Ali Khan who spoke against the bill in the house and moved amendments in the bill admitted that the opposition camp was divided.
“BJD, BSP and KCR were absent during the voting but the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, YSR, DMK voted against the bill,” said Javed Ali Khan.
He, however, ruled out going to the court as an option.
The government’s decision to include the Triple Talaq Bill in Tuesday’s business late in the night on Monday also came as a shocker for the opposition camp.
“I came to know about Triple Talaq Bill being included in the business of the house today morning only,” Javed Ali Khan told Financial Express Online, adding that it caught some opposition members off the guard as some of them were not in Delhi that helped the government’s floor managers.