Annoyed, Amit Shah seeks explanation from BJP MPs who skipped House

On Monday, the government was left red-faced after the Opposition, realising that the treasury benches were short of numbers, forced a crucial clause to be dropped.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: August 2, 2017 8:28 am
Amit Shah, BJP president, Amit Shah quit, nitish kumar, Amit Shah BJP, rajya sabha, indian express news, india news BJP president Amit Shah. (PTI Photo)

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Assam to review the flood situation there, BJP president Amit Shah cracked the whip Tuesday on Rajya Sabha members of the party who were not present in the Upper House Monday during the passage of a politically significant Constitution amendment Bill. On Monday, the government was left red-faced after the Opposition, realising that the treasury benches were short of numbers, forced a crucial clause to be dropped from The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 on granting constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

The Bill was passed minus Clause 3 which dealt with the composition of the commission. This means that the government will have to start the process afresh in Lok Sabha with a new Bill that need not include amendments pushed through by the Opposition in Rajya Sabha.

Taking serious exception to the “lapse” by BJP members, including Union Ministers, Shah was quoted as having told MPs at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting Tuesday morning: “Do not think that you are MPs because of your greatness. You have been given the opportunity by the party. Just turn back and you will see a long queue of deserving people for this position.”

Sources said the Prime Minister, who left for Assam early morning, had already spoken to his cabinet colleagues who were not present in Rajya Sabha on Monday evening.

The legislation has been projected by the BJP as a major political outreach to the backward classes and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again highlighted it as a major effort of his government to address the concerns of the communities.

BJP MPs, who attended the meeting in the morning, said Shah told members that they should “discharge their duties” and that the party leadership had taken a serious view of the “irresponsible behaviour”.

Shah said he would form an internal party committee to probe the “fiasco” and seek explanation from every member for the absence from the Upper House. “He said he himself will try to be present to listen to the explanations,” a BJP MP who was present at the meeting told The Indian Express.

While MPs blamed “poor floor coordination”, a senior minister pointed out that there was a whip to members to be present and vote for the Bill. “It was not a wedding or a birthday party where they should have waited for an invitation. It was part of their duty,” the minister said. The MPs, however, said that floor managers of the party could not get all NDA members on board — over two dozen NDA members were also absent.

A senior NDA MP said there was no “information” from the government to be present in the House. “They could not even get the JD(U) MPs to be with the government,” the MP said.

Meanwhile, addressing BJP MPs, Shah accused the Congress of “conspiring” to derail the Constitution amendment Bill. He said the Congress had been conspiring to stop the Bill’s passage in Rajya Sabha despite all parties agreeing to its provisions in the select committee it was sent to, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.

Later, at a press conference, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, senior MPs Hukmdev Narayan Yadav and Ganesh Singh launched an attack on the Congress, accusing it of choosing “minority vote-bank politics” over the welfare of Other Backward Classes.

“There is a separate minority commission to address their concerns. The OBC Commission is meant only to address the concerns of people from this class. It is religion-neutral and by raising the issue of minority (representation) in it, the Congress has shown that it has preferred minority politics over the welfare of 15,000 castes and communities in the OBC category,” the leaders said. They said the BJP would launch a campaign against the Opposition for “betraying” the OBC community.

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  1. N
    Nikhil
    Aug 2, 2017 at 10:58 am
    Shame on opposition and shame on absent MPs.
    Reply
    1. N
      naren
      Aug 2, 2017 at 11:57 pm
      These small tactics have no lasting value.No body can stop Amit Shah from exchanging seat with Modi in 2019
      Reply
    2. S
      Sam Jet
      Aug 2, 2017 at 9:48 am
      Still havent learned from 90 years of British Rule. Divided by caste.
      Reply
      1. F
        fauji
        Aug 2, 2017 at 8:59 am
        ha ha ha bjp gau rakshak mla and bjp ministers showing their true colors. do not worry betay bjp will be out in next elections. feku56 and his mate humpty dumpty amit shah will be lifting their dhotis and running to gujarat.
        Reply
        1. S
          sunder
          Aug 2, 2017 at 8:32 am
          There is no need Mr Shah.Congress is aparty of rogues rascals and bootleggers led by an Italian pros ute mafia.
          Reply
          1. B
            bitterhoney
            Aug 2, 2017 at 6:51 am
            Amit Shah should order the lynching of these rebels.
            Reply
            1. R
              Ravishanker Verma
              Aug 2, 2017 at 6:48 am
              Congress and so called other secular parties may seem to be loosing now but their vote banks have not still mentally left them caste and communal political game, BJP will be definitely a looser in the long run.
              Reply
              1. J
                Joe
                Aug 2, 2017 at 7:09 am
                Ravishanker Verma> YA right!!! Indian civil society likes to hypocritically claim that caste and religious communal ism is only a politically propped up idea. Please take a look at our society, even supposedly modernized people in metros. The BJP can say that it does not indulge in caste politics all it wants, but words are cheap and anyone who has some intelligence can see that this is not true. Caste discrimination and violence that happens even today is pretty medieval, so if you are surprised that it is actually politically relevant then you must have been been living under under a rock all these years.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Abby Normal
                  Aug 2, 2017 at 10:58 pm
                  You are right, caste and religions is dividing people. Even within any religious groups there is a lot of radical within that are fighting to prove the correctness, of what they follow. With casts, it is much like the problems the religious groups have. In just about every nations this problem exists. More than ever it appear that any of the present political parties, is not even trying to bridge gap, caused by this inequalities. I am not saying BJP or Congress or other parties are bad in their true forms, but it appear that the leaders of each party, is not consulting the rest of the members, before any decisions is taken.. Presently steps should be taken to reduce the tension with our neighbours,, but this is not happening ... can you immagine the recession that India would be subjected, if any conflicts would take place?
              2. R
                Ravishanker Verma
                Aug 2, 2017 at 6:35 am
                BJP seems to following the path of Congress and so called other secular party's caste and communal politics Congress and others have seen their fate and BJP must learn lessons from them. BJP's support base is quite different from other parties - a fact about which party does not seem to have any priorities left at the moment.
                Reply
                1. C
                  concerned
                  Aug 2, 2017 at 9:33 am
                  Absolutely true. BJP is taking certain section of people who have been supporting throughout for granted. I will be the least surprised if the modi goverment faces the same fiasco the vajapee goverment experienced during election in 2019. All the big talk of Modi and Amit will come to nought
                  Reply
                2. T
                  Truth
                  Aug 2, 2017 at 5:57 am
                  Fatty was busy hogging at a Dalit's house and now he wants an explanation from the other crooks !!!
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Antony
                    Aug 2, 2017 at 6:41 am
                    And the Christians were busy raping children in white supremacy racist Christian church where brown slaves rape kids in Christian churches. Amen.
                    Reply
                    1. D
                      Darkhorse
                      Aug 2, 2017 at 6:56 am
                      Speaks of your sick mentality pity on your family members who bear you. Go and have a check up from the nearest Christian mental asylum that will treat you free of charge. Tathastu.
                      1. A
                        Abby Normal
                        Aug 2, 2017 at 11:02 pm
                        Are you jealous because you have missed the treatment?
                      2. F
                        fauji
                        Aug 2, 2017 at 9:02 am
                        ha ha ha he ate too many ladoos and was looking for more samosas.
                        Reply
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