GST bill to targetting Rahul: What to expect from Modi’s speech today

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2016 13:14 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will wrap up the discussions on the motion of thanks to the President in Rajya Sabha. (PTI File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to speak in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, around 2pm, wrapping up the discussions on the motion of thanks to the President.

In the Lok Sabha, Modi had spoken about various issues and tackled the Opposition’s criticisms levelled at his government.

Here are the five things that Modi may pick up in the Rajya Sabha:

Pitch for bills

The Upper House has been a major hurdle in passing major bills for the NDA government. The reason is simple: the ruling dispensation does not have a majority in the House. The PM may like to use the opportunity to appeal to the Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha to rise above the partisan politics and pass these bills.

In his Lok Sabha speech last week, the PM had urged the Opposition parties to criticise the government and expose its weaknesses. In the Upper House, the PM will ask for their cooperation to pass bills like the real estate bill, the bankruptcy bill and other important bills. He may specifically also talk about the GST bill.

Taking on the Opposition

The discussion is likely to be Modi’s last opportunity to deliver a full-fledged speech in the House in the first half of the Budget session. And the PM is unlikely to miss this opportunity to hit back at rivals. With elections in four states and one union territory beginning in less than a month, the PM will not allow the Opposition to get away in the Upper House, where the government has come under intense attack from a united Opposition.

Target Rahul Gandhi

In his Lok Sabha speech, the PM had particularly targeted the Congress and Rahul Gandhi. He had even invoked what Gandhi did in 2012 and 2013. But in Rajya Sabha, the PM is unlikely to train his guns on the Congress vice-president. Rahul is not a member of Rajya Sabha and the PM has already attacked him enough in the Lower House. The PM may target leaders like Sitaram Yechury and Anand Sharma this time.

JNU and Rohith Vemula

Political rivals had expected Modi to say something on the controversial sedition charges against some students in JNU and the suicide of Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University. But the PM has cautiously evaded saying anything substantial on either of the incidents. This time, all eyes would again be on Modi expecting him to speak on the two raging issues that saw widespread protests from the students’ community. In the Upper House, several notices to move privilege motions against HRD minister Smriti Irani had also been served. The House had also seen a raging debate over nationalism.

Development plank

One can always expect the PM to talk about the achievements of his government in Parliament. He did it in Lok Sabha, and may like to repeat himself in the Upper House. In the Lok Sabha, the PM compared the performance of the 10 years of the UPA government vis-à-vis his regime. The Congress may again come under his sharp attack for its failure to address key development issues during its rule.

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