Even as the government acceded to Opposition pressure and agreed to send two Bills to Select Committees, Opposition leaders did not heed the government’s offer for a meeting in Leader of the House Arun Jaitley’s room in order to break the deadlock in Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day within minutes in the morning.
Before the adjournment, a meeting was held in the chamber of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu with floor leaders of political parties. Naidu, according to sources, said he was being forced to adjourn the House for the day as “some sections of the House were determined not to allow proper functioning of the House and were strategising for repeated adjournments for more effect”. It left the Chairman, he said, with very few options if parties choose to use disruption as a political strategy.
Soon after the adjournment, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Tomar and MoS Vijay Goel approached Opposition leaders and asked them to go for a meeting in Jaitley’s room. Nobody agreed to attend, sources said. The parties instead headed to Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s room to discuss floor strategy.
This despite the fact that government had, according to sources, already communicated to Opposition leaders, including those from Congress, TMC, Left and SP, that it would not push for passage of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 and The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 and instead send both Bills to Select Committees as the Opposition had been demanding.
An Opposition leader said: “We did not go because the government is not serious… If it was, it would not have listed a Bill allowing for NRI voting without taking the Business Advisory Committee into confidence. It is still using AIADMK to disrupt the House, which is not allowing us to raise the issues we want to…” Even as leaders urged Naidu to ensure that the House ran so that important issues could be discussed, the Chairman urged the parties to reach a consensus.