Modi's advise on attendance falls on deaf ears: Key clause in Bill dropped for want of numbers
The stern words by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on attendance in the Rajya Sabha appears to have made little difference to his party's lawmakers. The BJP was not able to muster up the numbers which led to the dropping of a crucial clause from the bill granting constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes.
The amendment was moved by the opposition which were passed by 74 votes as opposed to the 52 of the NDA. A clause for which an amendment is passed by a simple majority cannot become a part of the Constitution Amendment Bill as it would require a two-third majority of those present in the House.
The passage of the bill was important for the BJP especially in the wake of the upcoming elections. In the southern states where the OBC population play a key role, the passage of this bill would have been important.
Due to the lack of numbers the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017, was passed minus Clause 3 which dealt with the composition of the commission. Now the government will have to start the process again in the Lok Sabha. This would mean that the new bill need not include amendments pushed through by the opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
Ironically for the government, this incident comes just a few days after Prime Minister Modi had pulled up his lawmakers for lack of attendance in the Rajya Sabha. The matter will be viewed seriously and since Modi is away at Assam today, BJP's national president Amit Shah will take up the matters.