NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the Rajya Sabha can never be reduced to a “secondary house” and should remain a “supportive house”. The PM emphasised that the Upper House was meant for checking and balancing, underlining that there is a difference between “checking and clogging” and “balancing and blocking”. Speaking at a special discussion marking the 250th session of the House, Modi also praised the Elders’ “maturity” for allowing legislations such as the Triple Talaq Bill to pass. “It was believed that the Bill on Triple Talaq would not pass here, but it did,” he said.
Modi added that even the Goods and Services Tax (GST) became a reality after it was cleared in the Rajya Sabha. “Our Constitution inspires us to work towards being a welfare state. It also motivates us to work for the welfare of states. The Rajya Sabha, as the Council of States, enables us to further the spirit of cooperative federalism,” he said.
The House discussed the role of the Rajya Sabha in Indian polity and the need for reforms. The PM hailed RS as a platform that gives opportunity to people who are away from electoral politics to contribute to the country and its development.
“Who can forget that it was through the Rajya Sabha that a stalwart like Dr Ambedkar could contribute even more to national progress?” He said the House had witnessed several historic moments and “when required, it has moulded history”.
Addressing the Upper House on the first day of the Winter session, the PM said, “Two things about the Rajya Sabha stand out — its permanent or eternal nature... It is also representative of India’s diversity.”
Ahead of Modi’s address, RS Chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu listed major achievements of the House. Earlier in the day, while addressing reporters, the PM said the government was ready to discuss all issues during Parliament’s Winter Session.
Impact of strained Sena-BJP ties
The stand-off between the Shiv Sena and the BJP was visible on the very first day of the winter session of Parliament. In the Lok Sabha, Shiv Sena members raised voice seeking immediate relief for farmers in Maharashtra. As soon as Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla completed the obituary references, the Sena MPs stood on their seats and started shouting slogans saying, “We need justice for farmers”. Sena had recently raised the issue of farmers who have suffered crop losses in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ and had advocated adequate compensation without attaching any conditions.