Amit Shah to debut in RS with debate on Prez motion

All eyes will be on BJP president Amit Shah on Monday afternoon when he makes his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha by moving the motion of thanks on the President’s Address with a likely focus on Triple Talaq Bill and simultaneous polls.

Shah, who was elected as a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat in August last year, was to make his first speech on January 4 this year, the last working day for government business in the Winter Session, while the House considers the Goods and Service Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill.

However, the plans got aborted as the GST bill could not be taken up due to opposition protests over Triple Talaq Bill and their insistence that it be sent to a Select Committee for further consideration. Shah had made elaborate preparations for speaking on the GST to clear BJP’s stand on several issues related to the taxation law.

Amit-Shah-debut-Rajya-Sabha-speech

With Shah, who started his Parliamentary innings after being an MLA and Minister in Gujarat for long, choosing to open the debate on the President’s Address, the Rajya Sabha is likely to witness fireworks from both the sides. Last year, Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad had moved the motion of thanks in the Upper House.

Shah would try to put the Opposition on the mat over the triple talaq bill over their objections to the bill while vociferously pitching for Modi’s pet project of simultaneous polls. His speech will also be keenly watched for its political positioning amid perception that middle-class is unhappy with the budget.

It is also to be seen whether the Opposition would press for voting on any amendments they would move. While a CPI(M) leader suggested moving amendments in a recent meeting of Opposition leaders called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, many of them have not been keen on doing so.

Twelve hours have been allocated for the debate on two days and Rajya Sabha has agreed to sit till 8 PM on Monday and Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to reply to the debate on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. The budget discussion starts on February 7 afternoon.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 4, 2018)

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