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Demoralization in opposition ranks, BJP has field day

Amid continuing demoralization in its main rival Congress, the BJP has managed to break opposition unity in the Rajya Sabha, mustering enough numbers in its favour as and when needed in the just-ended Budget session of Parliament.
Demoralization in opposition ranks, BJP has field day

In addition, some opposition members dumped their parties in the middle of the crucial session and announced they were joining the BJP, which has returned to power with a thumping majority in the Lok Sabha.

The pattern of joining the BJP became so frequent that Congress leader Jairam Ramesh remarked that the ruling party had resorted to hostile takeover after creeping acquisition.

Finding huge popular support outside Parliament, the BJP has been moving with confidence.

Last week, it carried out its long-cherished agenda of revoking Article 370 of the Constitution which provided Jammu and Kashmir special status, knowing fully well that the move may have serious repercussions.

Given the overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha and that too quite fresh, the saffron party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah seized the opportunity and went a step further.

Besides masterminding the abrogation of Article 370, it turned Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

The game plan has worked well so far. The issue being emotive, even members of the Congress were divided. The party's Rajya Sabha chief whip, Bhubaneshwar Kalita, resigned to support of the government move.

The Modi government also passed the Triple Talaq legislation.

"As a result of these two moves, the popular support has risen significantly in favour of the BJP. So one can oppose the government only at one's own peril," said a political analyst.

On August 5, the day the resolution to revoke Article 370 came for adoption and also the bill for reorganizing Jammu and Kashmir, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu announced resignation of three opposition members Surendra Singh Nagar and Sanjay Seth of Samajwadi Party and Kalita of the Congress.

Days earlier, Neeraj Shekhar of the SP and Sanjay Sinh of the Congress had quit from the Rajya Sabha and joined the BJP.

This clearly showed that the BJP has its strategy in place and well-timed.

Generally, the compulsion of coalition starts in the third and fourth year of a government's five-year term, so major decisions have been pushed into the very first year in fact within 100 days after the Lok Sabha mandate.

Each time a contentious bill came to the Rajya Sabha, the BJP passed the test with good score. The Triple Talaq bill was cleared with 99 votes in favour and 84 against.

The BJP, which has 78 members along with three Shiv Sena and three Akali Dal members, managed to pull 15 extra votes. The party floor managers ensured that some opposition members remained absent to secure a smooth sailing of the legislation.

About 30 MPs were absent in the Rajya Sabha when voting on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, 2019 took place. Even as two NDA allies JD (U) and AIADMK opposing the bill, the ruling alliance managed to win.

In politics, the tide may turn any time but the BJP for now has what it takes to rule in a democracy popular support.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at nirbhay.k@.in)

( With inputs from IANS )

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