Combative Opposition has its way

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Fourth such instance in the House; Govt. forced to amend Motion on President's Address.

The Narendra Modi government faced its first defeat in Parliament on Tuesday when an amendment to the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address moved by a combative Opposition was carried in the Rajya Sabha, 118-57.

In the Lok Sabha, the Opposition made up for its lack of numbers through its tactical footwork: working in perfect coordination, it tested the government’s patience by demanding frequent divisions, or voting, on amendments that it moved on two of the Bills — on Insurance and Mines and Minerals — that are to replace ordinances.

Though they were all defeated, the Opposition managed to underscore the message that this was a government that privileged the interests of wealthy mine-owners over the poor from whom mineral-rich land was being purchased.

As MPs streamed out of the Rajya Sabha after they succeeded in amending the President’s Address — only the fourth time since Independence — the mood was celebratory among those belonging to the Opposition and sombre among those belonging to the ruling parties.

The amendment to the President’s Address expressed “regret that there is no mention in the address about the failure of the government to curb high-level corruption and to bring back black money.” The NDA’s parliamentary managers sought to make light of it, saying the government did not have time to commit any acts of corruption.

If the government’s failure to adopt a conciliatory approach has helped unite the Opposition — with the once-neutral Biju Janata Dal joining its ranks — the latter’s successes, thanks to the well-thought-out floor coordination in both Houses, has pumped in new energy in its ranks so much so that the government will now have to work overtime to get its Bills replacing six ordinances through the Rajya Sabha.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 3:19:14 AM |

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