The Narendra Modi government’s flagship bill to ban instant Triple Talaq passed smoothly through the opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha today, aided by a long list of absentees, abstentions and walkouts. Prominent among them was Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party, whose two lawmakers abstained despite their party leader’s repeated assurance that they would not side with the BJP.
The depleted ranks in the upper house had brought down the majority mark and the contentious bill, which failed the Rajya Sabha test during the first term of PM Modi’s government, was passed with 99 votes in its favour and 84 against.
Ms Mufti had earlier bitterly opposed the Triple Talaq bill, claiming the BJP was “entering our homes” using the legislation.
Today, she tweeted: “Fail to understand the need to pass the triple talaq bill especially since the Supreme Court had already declared it illegal. Undue interference seemingly to punish Muslims. Given the current state of the economy, should this really have been a priority?”
But there was no mention or explanation about her lawmakers’ abstention in the upper house.
Ms Mufti’s arch-rival Omar Abdullah was among the first to call her out.
“Mehbooba Mufti ji, you might want to check how your members voted on this bill before tweeting. I understand they abstained which helped the government with the numbers needed to pass the bill. You can’t help the government & then “fail to understand need to pass”!” his tweet read.
Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP had ruled Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the BJP till June last year. The alliance between the two parties — which came together despite disparate ideologies — had ended amid much bitterness. Mr Abdullah, however, had repeatedly hinted that the two parties were not that far apart.
Amid reports that the PDP might back the bill in the run-up to the presentation of another contentious bill – the amendment to the Right to Information Act — in parliament, Mr Abdullah had tweeted, “@jkpdp is backing the government in Parliament. Running with the hare & hunting with the hounds?”
Ms Mufti had declared that her party was against the RTI bill. After the bill passed through Rajya Sabha, there were reports that the PDP had helped the bill.
On this occasion, she retweeted reports that her lawmakers will oppose the Triple Talaq bill, with a caption, “Just to set the record straight”.
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On ‘Triple Talaq’ Bill, A Surprise Move From Mehbooba Mufti’s Lawmakers – NDTV News