UP polls may bail out govt in Rajya Sabha

UP polls may bail out govt in Rajya Sabha

 With many Opposition MPs busy with Uttar Pradesh polls, the government may escape embarrassment in Rajya Sabha this time in case of a vote on amendments on Motion of Thanks to President’s address.

In the last two instances, the Opposition defeated the BJP-led NDA in Rajya Sabha, where it the latter is in a minority, by passing amendments to the President's address.

It is to be seen whether the Opposition parties will press for voting on amendments this time as almost all MPs from Samajwadi Party (19) and BSP (6) as well as several Congress members are busy with campaigning for the crucial polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Also, Trinamool Congress, a vociferous Opposition party, decided against voting on amendments “out of respect for the Rashtrapatiji”, as one leader put it.

Opposition leaders are keeping their cards close to the chest, but indications from some sections are that there is no point in pressing for voting as it could go against them.

Already, 1,066 amendments have been moved by the Opposition MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. In the Upper House, 651 amendments have been moved and 19 are on the absence of reference to demonetisation in the President’s speech.

Keeping the number game in mind, sources said, Opposition parties have tweaked their strategy. They have decided that “each party will raise its own issues”, unlike the Winter Session where there was a coordinated attack on the government against demonetisation. The idea is to “slam the government through speeches”.

They may also try to take the discussion over Budget to the second leg of Budget Session starting March 9, saying there is not enough time left to vote on the Budget before February 9, when Parliament goes to recess.

“None of the Uttar Pradesh parties are in Parliament. Shiv Sena has its focus on the civic polls. The Punjab parties are also not back. AIADMK MPs are busy with the swearing-in of Sasikala. Only JD(U) and Trinamool are in full strength,” he said. The Rajya Sabha is functioning, while in Lok Sabha, the debate on President’s speech started on Monday amid fears that the Congress and other parties would disrupt it over E Ahamed’s death. A senior Congress leader told DH that the BJP expected that they would disrupt it, but “we decided not to fall into their trap”.

Shiv Sena slams govt over note ban

 The Shiv Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP, on Monday joined the Congress and other Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha to lambast the Centre over demonetisation.

Anand Rao Adsul of the Shiv Sena alleged that the BJP-led government hastily decided to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 without prior arrangement to immediately replenish the invalid notes with new ones.

Adsul asked the BJP MPs if they had been to villages to see how people were affected by the cash crisis.

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