Massive victory for Modi government

NDA wins over BJD; AIADMK, JDU TRS abstain from voting on Bill.

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government scored a massive political victory on Tuesday as the Triple Talaq Bill cleared the Rajya Sabha hurdle on Tuesday. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed in the Upper House by 99 votes to 84 after a comprehensive debate. The Bill, which was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha, will now go to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent.

The passing of this key Bill in the Rajya Sabha also revealed the strategic floor management of the Narendra Modi government to get its approval as the ruling NDA does not have a majority of its own in the Upper House. During the first term of the Narendra Modi government, the Triple Talaq Bill had lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha at the end of its term. The government was not able to get it through the Rajya Sabha as it lacked the numbers.

On Tuesday, as part of its floor management, the NDA leadership was able to win over the Biju Janata Dal, as several NDA constituents like the the AIADMK and the Janata Dal (United), and non-NDA, non-UPA parties like the TRS abstai-ned from voting. This helped enable bring down the required number for pushing the law through by lowering the majority mark, which normally stands at 121. The ruling NDA has 107 members in the 242-member Rajya Sabha. The NDA was also helped by the absence of some members of the SP, BSP and the YSRC. The House had earlier rejected an Opposition motion to send the Bill to a Rajya Sabha select committee with 100 votes against it, compared to 84 in favour.

The Lok Sabha had passed the bill last week and with the Rajya Sabha now approving it, the practice of instant divorce by Muslim men will be punishable by a jail term of up to three years. The government did not face much trouble in pushing the bill in the Lok Sabha, where it has a comfortable majority. Once the bill gets the President’s assent and is notified by the government, it will replace the Triple Talaq Ordinance of promulgated in February.

The Triple Talaq Bill has been a bone of contention between the Narendra Modi government and the Opposition since December 2017.

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