NDA govt embarrassed in RS again

NDA govt embarrassed in RS again

NDA govt embarrassed in RS again

For the second time in two years, the NDA government was embarrassed in the Rajya Sabha by the Congress-led Opposition, which pushed through an amendment to the motion of thanks to the President's address in Parliament.

When the amendment, moved by Leader of  Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad was put to vote, as many as 94 MPs voted in favour of the amendment while 61 members from the treasury benches and their allies voted against. This is the fifth time in parliamentary history that the President's speech has been amended.

BSP and Trinamool Congress did not participate in the voting, whereas DMK, SP, JD(U), RJD, CPI, CPM and NCP voted with the Congress. The government is in a minority in the Upper House.

Appeals by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu to withdraw the amendment failed to cut ice with Azad and other parties.

It was almost a repeat of last year when an amendment moved by CPM's Sitaram Yechury and P Rajeev was passed by division of votes after the government failed to convince the Left leaders to withdraw the amendment.

The amendment moved by Congress on Wednesday said the President's address did not mention that the government was committed to securing the fundamental right of all citizens to contest elections at all levels, including panchayats.

Though it does not name the states, Azad's amendment is an obvious reference to recent laws passed by the Haryana and Rajasthan assembly, making basic education a mandatory criterion for contesting village polls.

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