NEW DELHI: Claiming to have outmanoeuvred the Opposition on the Triple Talaq Bill, the government is hopeful of its smooth passage in the Rajya Sabha. While the Bill, which criminalises instant divorce among the Muslim community, is set come before the Upper House next week, the government is expecting walk outs by a few Opposition parties to help its passage.
“The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, will be brought before the Rajya Sabha on January 2 or 3. The government has reached out to leaders of political parties. Discussions in the Lok Sabha have made it evident that no major political outfit can oppose a legislation that seeks to protect the rights of women,” said a Union minister. He added that by avoiding shrill around the Bill and focusing on rights of Muslim women, BJP has outmanoeuvred not only the Congress but other Opposition parties as well.
The NDA lacks numbers in the Upper House to push legislations. “The Congress will insist on sending the Bill to the Select Committee of the House on the party lines in the Lok Sabha wherein they sought it to be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The government is keen to get the Rajya Sabha nod in the current session of Parliament,” added the minister.
The BJP, however, found Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) opposition to the Bill strange. “We couldn’t understand reasons of opposition by BJD, which had always struck coherent positions on legislative business. Both Bhartruhari Mahatab and Tathagata Satpathy were incoherent in the Lok Sabha. The only reason of the opposition could be multiple internal surveys within the BJP suggesting simple majority to the saffron outfit in the 2020 Assembly elections. The impending electoral loss could have made the BJD incoherent,” stated the minister.
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar on Friday appealed to all parties to pass the Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The government is not keen to send the Bill to the select committee, which would mean that the legislation will return before the Upper House not before the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
Incidentally, the BJP during its national executive meeting in Bhubaneshwar in April this year had firmed up the plan to take decisive steps on the issue of triple talaq with the aim to challenge inherent contradictions in “politics of secularism”. “Now, proponents of the politics of secularism have been forced to support the legislation. They’re making adjustments in their stated political stands,” said a senior BJP functionary.