NEWS RAJYA SABHA
NEW DELHI: The partying is over for the Congress and its allies in the Upper House of Parliament. With Parliament adjourning sine die this week after a brief Monsoon Session, the Congress and its associates including the Trinamool Congress of feisty Mamata Banerjee have played out their last game – by putting up a tough resistance to the farm bills, yet not being able to thwart their passage. They are, overall too, losing their steam.
The RS could see a season of fluctuations and upper hand for the BJP. This time, the Modi government got the farm bills passed via voice vote in the upper house a while after after they sailed through effortlessly in the lower house. Farm reforms are what the nation is in dire need of, as exploitation of the farmers, who feed the nation, is at its height. Yet, the Opposition sought to play up on the emotions of the farming community and fished in troubled waters.
The central problem that the NDA, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, faced in the Parliament all through his six-year period in power at the Centre was in the Rajya Sabha, where the Congress and its allies continued to maintain a majority. Periodic elections to the RS, unlike in the LS where polls are held once in five years, brought down the strength of the Congress to an extent, but it still managed to have the last laugh; almost. Now, by November, the scenario will change.
The fresh round of elections to the Rajya Sabha will be from two assemblies – Uttar Pradesh (10) and Uttarakhand (1); both ruled by the BJP and having major MLA strengths for it. Eleven seats are up for the polls from these states; and the BJP could get the maximum out of these. The RS has a strength of 245. As now, only three of these seats are with the BJP, based on previous assembly strengths in UP and Jharkhand.
As of now, the BJP has 86 members in the RS. Its ally, the JD(U) of Nitish Kumar, has five members; the Shiromani Akali Dal two, and the Lok Janshakti Party of Ramvilas Paswan and the RPI having one each member. The Shiv Sena is no more part of the NDA; TDP of Chandrababu Naidu too has left the NDA, but to make up for it, chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh would back the government. The YSRC and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) from Odisha, both having nine members each in RS, could back the Modi government in most matters; so would the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the National People’s Party (NPP) are also supporting the BJP.
With the strengthening of the BJP in the RS by November, Modi will have the last laugh. Modi’s push for passing the GST bill was blocked ably by the Congress and its allies for a few years through constant resistance in the Rajya Sabha. Modi then turned this into a finance bill and ensured its passage with only nod from the Lower House. Finance bills do not require clearance from the Upper House. With the help of friendly parties, the government has been able to pass several important bills in the Rajya Sabha in the past.
“The real Modi will surface after November,” is what some BJP leaders here say, as he can soon push through any bill through both houses of parliament. A bill to curtail freedom (Freedom for anarchy) as it now exists in India with the likes of the Leftists around) too could be expected for passage after November. Feelings are strengthening that India is increasingly becoming a nation of anarchy, as was witnessed at the time of the anti-CAA protests, with the Opposition seeking to place hurdles in the way of smooth governmental functioning and whipping up communal passions. An elected government should have the freedom to function, which is often questioned by an irresponsible set of opposition leaders bent on fishing in troubled waters, say these BJP leaders. IHN-NN
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