New Delhi, Sep 23 : Was the numbers game responsible for the ruckus witnessed in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday over the two agriculture-related contentious Bills? That could be the case, if one were to believe the opposition, even though the government asserted that it had the required numbers.
When Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the Rajya Sabha that the government did not have sufficient numbers and thus created chaos to "hide its failure" in mustering a majority to get the farm Bills passed, the charge was vehemently denied by the treasury benches.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi asserted that the Bill would have been passed since the government had 115 members in support of the proposed legislations. He, in turn, pinned the blame on the opposition for the bedlam.
The House strength on Sunday was 243, with two vacancies, making 122 the majority mark. However, the situation became tricky for the government after a few supporting parties like the BJD, TRS and the SAD voiced opposition to the Bills.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) lawmaker Prasanna Acharya demanded that the Bills be sent to the Select Committee whereas Telangana Rashtra Samithi totally opposed the Bills.
If one were to go by the numbers game, the Bharatiya Janata Party had 86 members, Janata Dal-United 5, and nominated three. With one each lawmaker from the BPF, RPI, LJP, PMK apart from the NPP, MNF, SDF and an Independent, the government had the support of total 103 MPs.
But the opposition had 107 lawmakers on its side, the Congress claimed. The party pointed out it had 40, AAP 3, TMC 13, BSP 4, SP 8, Left parties 6, DMK 7, apart from those of the RJD, NCP and SAD and other regional parties.
So, the non-NDA and non-UPA parties were key to the passage of the Bills. These included BJD's 9 and TRS' 7. YSRCP and AIADMK, which supported the Bills, have around 40 members in the Rajya Sabha.
The ruling party pointed out that many opposition MPs were not in attendance, and hence the government would have got passed the Bills, but the opposition pointed out that the BJD, TRS and the SAD with 19 members could have stalled the farm Bills.
On Sunday, a pandemonium broke out in the Upper House as the opposition protested over the farm Bills. Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien even approached the Chair and tried to snatch a mike while citing the rule book.
When his objections were overruled, O'Brien allegedly tore the rule book and called the Bills "Kala Kanoon" or black laws. As the aides of the Deputy Chair, tried to shield Harivansh Narayan Singh, many opposition members reached the Well of the House to register their protest.
When the House met on Monday, Naidu suspended eight lawmakers -- Derek O'Brien and Dola Sen of the Trinamool Congress, Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora, and Syed Naseer Hussain of the Congress, Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party, and KK Ragesh and E Kareem of the CPI-M.