Rajya Sabha: Chairman Naidu broke House gridlock for Modi’s legislative flight


Photo credit Twitter Sansad TV

Spread the love

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, August 6: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s 2014 mandate proved inadequate for the party to carry legislative bills in the Rajya Sabha in the early years of the Narendra Modi government, as the House of elders seemed a daunting task for the ruling dispensation.

Arun Jaitely, the veteran of the Rajya Sabha, had begun lamenting continuous disruptions of the proceedings of the Upper House with Hamid Ansari in the Chair at public forums.

Jaitely would say that the country will have to pay heavy cost for disruptions in the Rajya Sabha.

“If the Rajya Sabha, which is not elected on a manifesto, repeatedly overrules the directly elected Lok Sabha, it will hurt the will of the people,” Jaitely would often say during the course of 2014-6.

Ansari had no answer to the gridlock in the Rajya Sabha.

There will be din in the House, and the Bills will not be taken up passage. The legislative agenda of the Modi government was largely stuck, until M. Venkaiah Naidu succeeded Ansari as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Vice President of India.

Naidu had been the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs before he became Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

On Feb 13, 2019, while presenting a first ever report on functioning of the Rajya Sabha during 2014-19, ahead of general elections, Naidu said in the House: “Rajya Sabha too is accountable to the people. This session being the last one before the fast approaching general elections, we need to know as to what extent this august House lived upto its role and expectations of the people…Evidence suggests that we did not rise to the expectations of the people…Productivity for the last 18 sessions over the last five years has been about 60 per cent.”

The context becomes far clearer by the productivity statistics of the first five sessions presided over by Naidu that ranged from 6.80 per cent to 58.80 per cent.

Naidu had inherited the Upper House in a state of permanent gridlock even while the occasional admonishment by the then President Pranab Mukherjee for Parliament ruckus failed to give any relief to the Modi government.

During 2017-22, Naidu’s stint saw the Rajya Sabha transforming from the House to block bills to one that gave Modi many of the reform legacy ‘The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment)   Bill, 2019’, ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2019’, ‘The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019’, ‘The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019’, besides politically sensitive Four Constitution Amendment Bills, including granting constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes in 2019 and providing for maximum of 10 per cent reservations for economically backward sections.

In six of the last eight sessions presided by Nadu, the Rajya Sabha clocked productivity in the range of 76 per cent to 105 per cent, with five sessions working for about 100 per cent of the scheduled time.

The House most hostile to the Modi government had been brought to order by Naidu, and it was in his presence that Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah hurriedly introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 to a stunned Opposition to give effect the BJP’s core agenda of revoking the Article 370.

The House was no more adversarial to the legislative agenda of the Modi government, as bills to ban the practice of triple talaq also sailed.

Naidu will pass on the baton to Jagdeep Dhankar next week with a track record that the BJP would no more bother to recall the lamentations of Jaitely.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *