New Delhi: The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) may abstain during voting on the triple bill in Rajya Sabha as it has six members in the house. The contentious bill to ban Triple Talaq – the practice of Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives – will take the Rajya Sabha test on Tuesday. The bill faces strong resistance not only from the opposition parties but from some BJP allies like Nitish Kumar and parties which provide issue-based support. The government is a minority in the Rajya Sabha.
The TRS had abstained from voting when the Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha .The TRS, led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, had adopted the same strategy in December last year. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019 became the first legislation to be tabled in Parliament by the Narendra Modi-led government in its second term.
Hyderabad Lok Sabha member Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM, an ally of the TRS, vehemently opposed the bill. TRS, which has nine members in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha, said recently it would give issue-based support to the BJP-led NDA government, similar to what it did in its previous term.
The NDA, which enjoys a comfortable majority in the Lower House, could easily pass the bill. However, now it awaits the scrutiny of the Rajya Sabha, where the Opposition has more numbers. The BJP floor managers are looking at various scenarios, including walkouts by the AIADMK and the TRS. Both the parties had not opposed the bill in Lok Sabha, but their numbers were of little consequence. Support from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s BJD could be the tipping point.
For now, the NDA’s strength in the 245-member Rajya Sabha is 113 – BJP (78), AIADMK (11), JD(U) (6), Shiv Sena (3), Shiromani Akali Dal (3) and Independents plus Nominated members (12). This is assuming that the Independents and the Nominated members will vote in favour of the government during division of votes.
With four vacant seats in the Upper House, the majority mark is 121. This means, the NDA needs eight more members to support it for the passage of the bill. At this point, support from BJD (7) could help the NDA cross the halfway mark.
Now, assuming that the AIADMK (11) and the TRS (6) stage a walkout, and the JD(U) decides to abstain from voting, the halfway mark drops further to 109. In this case too, support from the BJD and other fence-sitters could turn the tables around in favour of the ruling NDA.