The government suffered an embarrassment on Wednesday when the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha adopted the motion of thanks to President's address with an amendment moved by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad in a division in which 94 voted for the amendment and 61 against.
The amendment regretted that the address did not commit support to rights of all citizens to contest Panchayat elections in the backdrop of law in Rajasthan and Haryana where matriculation has been fixed as the criteria for contesting the polls.
According to a report in The Indian Express, while the AIADMK voted with the NDA, the BSP was not present in the house, and top leaders of the Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress were also absent from the house.
The amendment was moved despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the opposition in the Rajya Sabha to support the bills passed by the Lok Sabha. This was while replying to a debate on the motion of thanks on the president's address to parliament.
The Indian Express reports that this was the second year in a row that the government had to face such an embarrassment in Rajya Sabha and it was the fifth time in the history of Indian democracy.
PM Modi made a fresh pitch for passage of GST and other legislations in the Rajya Sabha considering the "conducive atmosphere" that has been prevailing in Parliament this session with cooperation from the opposition.
Like in the Lok Sabha last week, he was both conciliatory and mocking towards the opposition, particularly Congress, during his hour long reply to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President's address in the Upper House.
Referring to some 300 amendments that have been tabled to the motion of thanks, Modi appealed to the parties to withdraw them and passed the motion unanimously to ensure dignity of the President's office and in keeping with the high traditions of the House.
"Death has a blessing... It's above criticism... No one criticises death. People say someone died of cancer, (people say) he died of old age... The cancer and old age are blamed but not death," the Prime Minister told the Parliament.
"Sometimes I feel the Congress is also blessed (like death)... Whenever we criticise the Congress, the media says opposition is under attack," the Prime Minister said. "This does not happen when something is said about other opposition leaders such as BSP's Mayawati or Janata Dal-United's Sharad Yadav."
The Congress, he implied in his 90-minute speech, wanted to take credit for everything.
With agency inputs
First Published On : Mar 10, 2016 12:11 IST