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With regional support, passage of J&K Bill was easy picking for the BJP

By Anuj Cariappa
|

New Delhi, Aug 06: With the opposition in disarray, the support of regional parties in Rajya Sabha on Monday aided the smooth adoption of two resolutions for scrapping Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and passage of a bill to reorganise the state into two Union Territories.

The support of regional parties like BSP, BJD, AIADMK, YSRCP and AAP helped the government in clearing the Rajya Sabha hurdle easily. However, the government faced some embarrassment as BJP's Bihar ally JD(U) walked out to underline its opposition to the decision.

With regional support, passage of J&K Bill was easy pickings for the BJP

While the BJP has 78 members in Rajya Sabha, it also got the support of AIADMK (11), BJD (7), BSP (4), Shiv Sena (3), AAP (3), Shiromani Akali Dal (3), YSR-CP (2), RPI-A, NPF, LJP, BPF and AGP (one each) and four nominated and some independent members.

In Lok Sabha, while the BJP has 303 members, it has the support of YSR-CP (22), Shiv Sena (18), BJD (12), BSP (10), LJSP (5) and SAD (2) and some smaller regional parties that will help in smooth passage of the resolutions and the bill to be taken up on Tuesday.

No illegality in scrapping Article 370 say experts

Home minister Amit Shah has already sought the permission of the house to move them.

Though the government does not enjoy a majority in the upper house, the support of regional players helped in the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 and the resolution to abolish Article 370 after the President issued a notification in this regard.

Rajya Sabha also approved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, to extend 10% reservation to economically weaker sections in J&K.

Both the bills were passed by voice vote. The opposition, however, sought division of votes ahead of taking up the J&K Reorganisation Bill, with 125 members voting in favour of the bill and 61 against it. One member abstained from voting in division. The TMC and NCP walked out ahead of voting.

BJP's other allies like Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, AGP and BPF have supported the legislations.

Various opposition parties like the Congress, TMC, DMK, NCP, RJD, CPI, CPM and RJD were opposed to the legislations. These parties would not be able to stall the passage of the bill now.

The AAP also lent support to the bill after its leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted welcoming the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir. The Aam Aadmi Party has three members in Rajya Sabha.

The Congress, however, suffered a setback as its Rajya Sabha MP and chief whip Bhubaneshwar Kalita resigned from the membership of the House opposing the party's stand on the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state.

Opposition members in Rajya Sabha sought to stall the passage of the bill with vociferous protests. They squatted in the well of the House while raising slogans. Some members of the SP were also sitting in the well, while its leader Ram Gopal Yadav was in his place when the bill was being opposed.

However, later the opposition members ended their protest and started participating in the discussion.

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