Oppn to ensure MPs presence in Parliament till Aug 7

Oppn to ensure MPs presence in Parliament till Aug 7

(PTI file photo for representation)

After the BJP-led government trumped Opposition in Rajya Sabha on the RTI (Amendment) Bill, the Opposition parties are working hard to ensure that its MPs will be present in the House during the extended period of the session.

Trinamool Congress has given a whip to its MPs to be present in Parliament till the end of the session on August 7, while the Samajwadi Party has given a whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs to be present in the House till July 31.

Other Opposition parties may also follow suit as the government intends to bring contentious legislations like Triple Talaq Bill and UAPA (Amendment) Bill, which have been already passed by Lok Sabha, in the coming days.

On Thursday, the Opposition suffered a 75-117 defeat during the voting on sending the RTI (Amendment) Bill to Select Committee, exposing chinks in the anti-BJP camp.

Sources said six MPs from Samajwadi Party and all the four from BSP as well as MPs from Congress and NCP were absent during the voting. At present, the Opposition has a support of 111 MPs, while the BJP-led NDA has 115 members.

The BJD (7), TRS (6) and YSR (2) are non-aligned and usually take a pro-government stand.

While TRS and BJD had promised support to the Opposition bloc on the RTI Bill, the government working telephone lines led to them changing their mind in the last minute, leading to the defeat of the Opposition motion. Senior ministers had called BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao and YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. There are even reports that the government had reached out to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

With the government making clear its intention to pass more bills by extending the session till August 7, Opposition will be insisting that seven important bills be sent to Select Committee.

Opposition sources said government has indicated that they are willing to send 3-4 bills for parliamentary scrutiny but did not specify which legislations will be referred to such a panel.

When asked about the demand to send the bills to Select Committee, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha leader Derek O'Brien said, "inch by inch, we will fight. We will do what it takes not to concede Opposition space."

The Opposition is not taking any chance and has already shot off a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu seeking his intervention to ensure that bills are sent to the Select Committees.