Rivals gear for talaq battle
Opposition parties are planning to move a resolution for referring the triple talaq bill to a select committee as battle lines were being drawn in anticipation of the government bringing it to the Rajya Sabha on Monday afternoon.
Normally, such a resolution is moved by the government after consulting all parties to choose names for the select committee to scrutinise a bill. But given the Narendra Modi government’s track record in resisting parliamentary scrutiny of legislation, at least three members from the Opposition have already submitted resolutions to this effect.
The Opposition camp has been revved by the decision of the AIADMK to walk out in the Lok Sabha over the bill and is hopeful that the ruling party of Tamil Nadu will be in its corner if the resolution is put to vote. Even if it does not vote in favour of the resolution, the AIADMK abstaining will help the Opposition.
A back-of-the-envelope calculation puts the Opposition tally at 116 without the AIADMK. The BJP’s assured numbers is just a little over 100 in a House of 244 but much will hinge for both sides on Monday’s attendance. Both sides have issued whips to their members in the hope of ensuring better attendance.
Monday’s head-to-head will also see differences on technicalities being aired as the list of business makes no mention of an earlier version of the bill lying in the House unsettled for almost a year now. The government had moved amendments to the bill on the last day of the monsoon session but is now coming to the House with the draft legislation, as passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
Without withdrawing the earlier bill, the government cannot introduce the new one and the failure to mention this in Monday’s business has raised eyebrows in the Opposition camp.
“All institutions are being destroyed, and the way parliamentary procedure is being diluted is just another instance of how the Modi government functions,” Trinamul MP Derek O’Brien said on Friday, adding that what the government did in the Lok Sabha on Thursday with the triple talaq bill was another “EVM — event management”.
The CPI’s D. Raja too told The Telegraph that these technical details would have to be thrashed out first.
Conscious that the BJP would spin their demand for parliamentary scrutiny of the bill as anti-women, the Opposition parties insist that asking for it to be referred to a select committee does not amount to opposing the bill. “We are not on the merits of the bill, but just insisting on a consultative process that should be followed to fine-tune it,” one Opposition leader said.