RTI (Amendment) Bill: Defeat of Opposition motion boosts BJP

The Rajya Sabha during voting on the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on July 25, 2019. Photo: RSTV

The Rajya Sabha during voting on the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on July 25, 2019. Photo: RSTV  

Now, ruling party confident of having its way in the Rajya Sabha

The defeat in the Rajya Sabha of the Opposition motion to send the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill to a House select committee has enthused the treasury benches. They are now confident that the upper house will no longer be the roadblock it was during the previous tenure of the Narendra Modi government.

According to sources, out of 78 BJP members in the Rajya Sabha only five were absent, including ailing former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Its allies AIADMK, JD(U), Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, Lok Jan Shakti Party, and RPI were present in full force. The government also got all the seven votes of the Biju Janata Dal and five out of six votes of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.

Many absentees

The Opposition, on the other hand had many absentees including the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Other than the RTI legislation, the Opposition wanted to send six other bills for Parliamentary scrutiny via a Select Committee. The government has given a cursory assurance that they will be sending a few of them to the select committee. “When they approached us, we told them clearly, that we will pass the RTI Bill on Thursday itself. As for the other Bills we are not saying that none of them will be sent to a Select Committee. We will decide about them later,” a Union Minister said.

Opposition MPs during the business advisory committee meeting on Friday raised the issue of the reported attempt at “sabotaging” the vote on their motion to send the RTI Bill to a select committee. They alleged that BJP MP CM Ramesh was seen instructing TDP [his former party] members on how to vote. It The MPs also charged that Mr. Ramesh was caught with eight ballot slips. They also alleged that two Ministers were intimidating regional parties.

Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’ Brien has asked Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, to check the footage of voting.

Venkaiah upset

Responding to the Opposition’s anguish Mr. Naidu said Thursday’s events had ‘pained’ him. “What happened yesterday has pained me. It has pained the people of the country also. There are children in the gallery too. I don’t want to elaborate on that. We should see to it that such situations and such scenes are avoided in future,” Mr. Naidu said.

Without naming Mr. Ramesh, he said once the voting process started, the members were not supposed to move. “Even individual Members are not supposed to move this side or that side and go and talk to them. If they want to talk to any member, they are at liberty to talk to them before the voting process starts and, that too, preferably outside the House,” he said. He requested members to maintain decorum.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:50:03 PM |

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