Opinion | The BJP’s Rajya Sabha success1 min read . Updated: 31 Jul 2019, 07:11 PM IST
Whether this spells good news on tough reform measures, such as on land and labour, is not clear yet. But the ruling party has never had the power that it now commands
The passage of the bill in Parliament outlawing the practice of instant Triple Talaq has broader implications than its impact on divorce proceedings within the Muslim community of India. What it also signals is that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has more or less overcome its numerical shortcoming in the Rajya Sabha, where most of its big policy proposals got blocked during the Narendra Modi government’s first term. On Tuesday, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 was passed by the upper house by 99 votes to 84. Parties such as the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party and Telugu Desam Party—which had all along been siding with the Congress in opposing some aspects of the bill—acted in ways that ultimately enabled its passage. Some walked out, some voted in its favour, while others stayed away from the House. All this reduced not just the Opposition strength, but also the number of votes needed for a winning majority to enable the bill’s enactment as a law.
On the face of it, many of these parties still uphold their objections. But the underlying message is perhaps something else: That they would rather not stall legislative proposals that the BJP is particularly keen on. Implicit in this is a failure on the Congress’s part to mobilize the opposition on matters it claims are of significance. Maybe some opposition leaders feel that resistance is futile, given the current political trends. In any case, the BJP is expected to gain a majority in the upper house in a few years.
The BJP, of course, is jubilant over the bill’s passage. This is largely because it demonstrates its ability to get legislation passed even in the Rajya Sabha. This could mean a succession of bills being presented that the ruling party had feared would get blocked. Whether this spells good news on tough reform measures, such as on land and labour, is not clear yet. But the ruling party has never had the power that it now commands.