The newly formed 11-party bloc of non-Congress, non-BJP parliamentary parties failed in working out a joint floor strategy in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday to prevent the treasury bench from passing — without any discussion — the Interim (Railway) Budget and the Appropriation (Railway) Vote-on-Account Bills, 2014. The Bills were passed by voice vote.
Last week, the leaders of the 11 parties had decided that they would not allow the government to pass any Bill without discussion in the house. The parties included the four Left parties, the Janata Dal (United), the AIADMK, the Samajwadi Party, the Biju Janata Dal, the Asom Gana Parishad, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and the Janata Dal (Secular).
Sources told The Hindu that the Business Advisory Committee had last allotted two hours for discussion on the Interim Railway Budget and Railway Appropriation Bills but the legislations were passed without debate. The Secretariat brought out a Regular Business List, followed by a Revised Business List and yet another Supplementary List of Business to introduce the Railway Bills piece-meal.
Even as Congress member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao was in the Well of the House silently holding a placard for a “united Andhra Pradesh” and AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan and SP member Naresh Agarwal were raising separate issues, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien called Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge to move the Railway Bills for consideration and passage.
As the Minister moved a resolution to review the rate of dividend payable by the Railway Undertaking to General Revenue and the Interim (Railway) Budget, 2014-15, the Chair said there could be no discussion and called for a voice vote and adjourned the House for the day.