Subdued BJP, exuberant Congress in Parliament

Opposition members protest in the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

A subdued BJP, its allies with suppressed smiles and an exuberant Congress— the Opposition had an upper hand in Parliament on Wednesday a day after the saffron party lost power in three states, months ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

The mood in the BJP was summed up in Lok Sabha when Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered the House just minutes before it was convened.

There were no thumping of desks or MPs greeting him as usual.

However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi summed up the mood in the Opposition camp when she told reporters that she was "happy" with the results that she saw as a victory over the BJP's "negative" politics.

The BJP's uneasiness was very well capitalised by its nagging ally the Shiv Sena, which embarrassed the government in the Lok Sabha by insisting an adjournment motion on the construction of Ram temple.

It rushed to the Well disrupting the House, while the TDP MPs also joined them with the latter demanding a special status for Andhra Pradesh.

Another potential ally, the AIADMK created a ruckus in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha raising the issue of farmers in Cauvery delta.

While the Lok Sabha was adjourned during the morning session itself, Rajya Sabha managed to pass one bill— The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill— in the afternoon with the Opposition's cooperation.

The Rajya Sabha, too, could not function in the morning session while it was adjourned for the day soon after passing the bill.

As the AIADMK, the DMK and the Left MPs raised separate issues in the morning, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu referred to the election results while appealing for a calm.

He said, "yesterday (Tuesday), people in certain states have overwhelmingly participated in the elections and gave their verdict. That shows that they have confidence in the democratic system of the country. That being the case, we should respect the people's sentiments, allow the House to function and take up issues."

While BJP chief Amit Shah did not attend the Rajya Sabha proceedings, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was also absent in the Lok Sabha as he was busy with discussions on who will be the chief ministers in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Senior leaders like Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and K C Venugopal were also absent in the Lok Sabha.

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