by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha
Modi spoke to opponents to seek support
Many non-NDA parties fell in line
Some did not issue the whip
New Delhi, July 30
The BJP moved heaven & earth to muster support from parties which are not even part of the NDA for the Triple Talaq Bill. It was introduced this morning in the Rajya Sabha after being sent by the Lok Sabha. Since the BJP/NDA doesn't have numbers to get the controversial bill passed, the leadership decided to muster majority by using every weapon in its armoury.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi personally telephoned Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to seek support of the Bju Janata Dal (BJD) which has seven MPs. The PM also spoke to the AIADMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to direct its MPs in the Rajya Sabha to walk out of the House at the time of voting if not support. The 11-member AIADMK opposed the Bill while talking about it. But when it came to voting, they did what was told to them. The PM even spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to pesruade Janata Dal (U) MPs in the Rajya Sabha to walk out of the house if they can't support. The Nationalist Congress Party did not issue whip to its 4 Rajya Sabha MPs on the bill. Interestingly, the Telugu Desam Party leader N Chandra Babu Naidu was also spoken to by a top leader of the BJP not to oppose the Bill. Though TDP is at loggerheads with the BJP as it broke the party in Rajya Sabha and took away four MPs. The remaining two MP did the summersault too when it came to the voting. So much so that the lone member of the Janata Dal (S) was conveyed to stay away from the voting whose government was dislodged in Karnataka.
The BJP also did a coup of sort when it won over a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, Dr Sanjay Singh to resign from the house itself and join the BJP today. This brought down the Congress strength to 47. The SP MP Neeraj Shekhar had done the same thing last week when he quit the party and the Rajya Sabha. Many MPs like Ram Jethmalani and four others.
It is now clear that the very strength of the Rajya Sabha fell down steeply from 240 making the task of the BJP easier.