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United Oppn leaves govt red faced in Rajya Sabha

United Oppn leaves govt red faced in Rajya Sabha
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A united Opposition managed to push through an adoption of amendment to the address. This was only the fourth time in history that a government’s motion of thanks was amended. Earlier, it had happened in 1980, 1989 and 2001 respectively.

The amendment was moved by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury on the government’s failure to address high level corruption and curb back black money. “I persisted with the amendment as Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to give clarifications and left the House soon after completing his reply,” Yechury said. Before the amendment was put to vote, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and his colleague Ravi Shankar Prasad made fervent appeals to the Opposition benches to not push for the amendment as it was not the convention.

Naidu was also seen pleading before the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to intervene and save the government from embarrassment. However, Yechury did not relent and he found vociferous support from members of the Trinamool Congress.

Finally, Chairman of the House Hamid Ansari called for vote. With 118 members supporting it and 57 against it, it was adopted.

Earlier in his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for the controversial Land Acquisition Amendment Bill. “The law will stay. We will remove the shortcomings. I urge you to help us.

Together, we can take India’s development ahead,” Modi said, while appealing to the Opposition to not make the land bill a political issue.

On the context of the “controversial’ statement made by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the PM said: “If somebody makes such a statement, we can never support it.

Our government will move ahead with the policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and all resolutions passed here (in Parliament) will be implemented in letter and spirit.” While lashing out at the Congress with the charge that his government has repackaged the UPA policies, he said: “The UPA government had also adopted many of NDA’s policies of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government and then renamed them. In a democracy, threats do not work. I had faced many threats during my term as the Gujarat CM and this nation did not bend during the Emergency.”

Claiming that agricultural production in Bengal has fallen drastically and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has found starvation to be the worst in Bengal, the PM said: “Those with an imported ideology got to serve in West Bengal for 30 years. What happened there? I don’t blame you (pointing at Trinamool members) for the current situation in West Bengal, which once used to be the industrial capital of the country.”
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