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Amit Shah pulls up BJP MPs for frequently bunking Parliament sessions

Seventeen of the 57 BJP MPs, including seven ministers, skipped the House on Monday afternoon. The party had sought an explanation from them.

india Updated: Aug 01, 2017 23:59 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Amit Shah,BJP parliamentary meeting,BJP
BJP president Amit Shah, Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar (left), and minister of state SS Ahluwalia arrive to attend BJP parliamentary party meeting, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday reprimanded party MPs for their absence from Parliament, a day after the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha forced changes to a crucial bill that now faces delay.

In an embarrassment for the government, the opposition parties on Monday made an amendment to a bill to give constitutional status to the national commission for backward classes, raising the number of members from three to five to include a woman and a minority candidate from the OBC category.

The government could junk this bill and bring a new one as it believes the change makes the legislation legally untenable because such reservation was not permitted in constitutional bodies, sources said.

“People have many options. If you have been elected, you should do justice to it,” sources quoted Shah as saying at a parliamentary party meeting in New Delhi.

Seventeen of the 57 BJP MPs, including seven ministers, skipped the House on Monday afternoon. The party, said sources, had sought an explanation from them.

As many as 31 members of the National Democratic Alliance were missing from the House, where the ruling coalition is in a minority.

Though Opposition was also not full strength but the amendment was passed with 75 members voting in favour and 52 rejecting it.

Modi was in Assam to review the flood situation and didn’t attend the Tuesday’s meeting but was said to be extremely upset.

The Prime Minister on several occasions has asked lawmakers to be regular in Parliament. On Monday evening, he called for the names of those who played truant.

The government, said sources, was unlikely to accept the change and could go for a fresh bill. But with numbers not favouring it in the Rajya Sabha, it could wait out till the situation was more favourable in the House.

The NDA hopes to improve its bench strength when Rajya Sabha elections are held over the next one year.

In the meantime, it plans to turn the tables on the Congress by telling people that the opposition party blocked a bill for OBC welfare as part of its policy of minority appeasement.

In the BJP meeting, which was well-attended, Shah minced no words and asked MPs to wake up to their duty. There were many leaders but only few got the chance to be members of Parliament, he said.

“Till Parliament is on, all members should be present, matter of members not present will be taken up seriously,” parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said after the meeting.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley also spoke to some his absentee colleagues, source said.

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 23:59 IST