The government today faced embarrassment in Rajya Sabha as an opposition amendment to the Motion on President’s Address was passed even as Prime Minister rejected the charge of being pro-corporate and ruled out any dilution in any pro-farmer provision in the land bill.
The Prime Minister also denied any decision to reduce the coverage of population under the Food Security Act, saying such “myths” should not be spread.
He also targeted Congress over blackmoney, saying its government had not set up SIT as there was an attempt to “save somebody” and countered its charge of copying names of UPA schemes by suggesting that the Congress-ruled government had instead copied schemes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Reflecting the difficult times it is up for in the House where it is in acute minority, the Modi government faced an embarassment when an amendment moved by the opposition to the President’s Address over corruption and blackmoney was passed with an overwhelming majority.
The amendment was moved by CPI(M) members Sitaram Yechury and P Rajeeve and it was passed through Division of Votes after the government’s plea for withdrawal of the step failed.
“....regrettably, there is no mention in the address about the failure of the government to curb high level corruption and to bring back black money,” read the amendment which was passed with 118 votes in favour and 57 against it.
This is the fourth time in Rajya Sabha’s history that an amendment moved by the opposition to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address has been passed.
The previous instances took place on January 30, 1980, during Janata Party rule, then on December 29, 1989, during V P Singh-led National Front and third time on March 12, 2001 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government was in power.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu tried to dissuade “senior member” Yechury from moving the amendment, saying there was a mention about black money. He said his concern has been noted and hence should withdraw it.
Yechury said normally he would accept such a request, but he was pressing for the amendment as the government left no choice as even after 14 hours of debate, opposition was denied opportunity to seek clarification on the Prime Minister’s reply.
He also took objection to the Prime Minister leaving the House soon after his hour-long reply.