Narendra Modi voices concern over Parliament disruptions

New Delhi: After over three weeks of continuous logjam in both the Houses of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped in on Wednesday saying disruptions meant retiring Rajya Sabha members will not be present when the House decides on the triple talaq law.

The day also witnessed a much- anticipated meeting between former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on attempts to forge opposition unity. Banerjee, who also met Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday, has been holding a series of political parleys in the national capital since Tuesday.

Opposition parties came together on another issue on Wednesday—several opposition leaders, led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, met President Ram Nath Kovind to express concerns over the dilution of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. In a memorandum submitted to Kovind, the leaders demanded that the government take steps to address the dilution of the law—the result of a recent Supreme Court judgement —to avoid a “national disaster”.

Parliament has witnessed repeated disruptions and Wednesday was the 17th consecutive day when proceedings were adjourned in both houses.

In a farewell address to 58 outgoing members of Parliament (MPs) in Rajya Sabha, Modi said that the retiring MPs lost the opportunity to leave their legacy on important issues like instant triple talaq.

“It is not necessary that whatever happens in the Green House (Lok Sabha), should happen in the Red House (Rajya Sabha). It is unfortunate that the retiring members will not be part of Parliament when the long due decision on triple talaq is taken,” said Modi in his Rajya Sabha speech on Wednesday.

“It would have been much better had they left behind some good things but they could not get the opportunity,” Modi added.

Interestingly, the word of caution from Prime Minister on repeated disruptions has come at a time when Rajya Sabha chairman and vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu has decided to review the rules and procedure of Rajya Sabha to minimize disruptions.

“I have already decided to have a review of the rules of Rajya Sabha and once the draft is prepared, it will be discussed in the rules committee and then finally after a general discussion, we will move in that direction…,” Naidu said.

“We want Congress to help the regional parties’ front that is being talked about, so as to facilitate a one-is-to-one fight. This one-is-to-one fight will eliminate BJP politically,” Banerjee told ANI news agency after her meeting with Gandhi at latter’s official residence in New Delhi.

Banerjee’s reach-out to Congress party is significant amid talks of a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance ahead of the 2019 elections. In her ongoing Delhi trip, Banerjee had met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena parliamentarian Sanjay Raut and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) member of Parliament Misa Bharti on Tuesday.