191 minutes in 11 days: RS faced disruption

191 minutes in 11 days: RS faced disruption

191 minutes in 11 days or 17 minutes a day -- this is the duration Rajya Sabha functioned in the Winter Session of Parliament so far and the remaining days are also likely to witness the similar scene with Opposition planning to corner the government on legislation like Triple Talaq bill.

With numbers stacked against the government in the Upper House, the Opposition is fine-tuning its strategy for the remaining eight working days during which it will insist that important legislations like Triple Talaq Bill be sent to a Select Committee for further scrutiny.

The Opposition believes that the Bill was rushed through in the Lower House for political gains and wants substantial changes in the proposed law, as they argue that criminalisation of triple talaq will put Muslim women in peril.

Sources said they will also raise the issue of voting is already pending on a motion demanding sending of the earlier Triple Talaq bill to a Select Committee and is likely to insist that it should be dealt with first. The government has brought the latest bill in place of an ordinance.

With 123 being the half way mark, the Opposition is confident of getting 130 votes, including 13 AIADMK MPs who are otherwise aligned with the government. The treasury benches can garner the rest 113.

"This is not an 800 square feet jewellery shop in Ahmedabad where two people come and decide which all jewellery articles should be on display. This is Parliament. If the government thinks they can bulldoze laws like the way they do in Lok Sabha, that is not going to work," Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha leader Derek O'Brien said. 

The Opposition pressure in Rajya Sabha appeared to have worked as they claim that the government has agreed to sent Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill and Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill to Select Committee.

O'Brien accused the BJP of using AIADMK, whose MPs are rushing to the Well of the House on Cauvery issue, to disrupt the House when Opposition has already expressed readiness to discuss issues.

"The script is by BJP. The lead role is played by AIADMK (by protesting) and the Rajya Sabha is adjourned. They don't have majority. But we have worked out a strategy. We will be meeting on Monday morning to fine-tune it," O'Brien said.

In the past 11 days, there were no meaningful transaction of business in the House except for the passage of an amendment bill for the welfare of people with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities.

An analysis of the Rajya Sabha records showed that the Upper House was adjourned for the day in the morning session itself on eight days. On December 17, the Rajya Sabha functioned only for six minutes, the lowest, while on December 21, it functioned for 43 minutes but the government and opposition locked horns over issues resulting in pandemonium.

On the first day, the Rajya Sabha functioned for 36 minutes and was adjourned in respect of leaders, including former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, who passed away after the Monsoon Session ended on August 10.

The issues that rocked the Rajya Sabha included Rafale scam, Cauvery issue, agrarian crisis, Ministry of Home Affairs' notification on surveillance on computers among others.