Triple Talaq: Why PDP Lawmakers Abstained?

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SRINAGAR: The passage of ambitious Triple Talaq Bill by Narendra Modi led government in Rajya Sabha is being considered a major victory. The Upper House could have blocked the move because BJP lacks enough number in the House, unlike Lok Sabha.

In a House where BJP lacks a majority, the bill was supported by 99 members as there were only 84 opposing it. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill will now go to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent. Once it gets the assent of the President and notified by the government, it will replace the triple talaq ordinance promulgated in February. The triple talaq bill has been a bone of contention between the Narendra Modi government and the Opposition since December 2017, when the government first tabled the legislation in the Lok Sabha.

Commentators give credit of floor management to the BJP that ensured its victory despite not having enough numbers. The passage of the bill was embarrassing for the opposition, especially for the Congress. As many as 23 opposition members were absent from the House.

As many as 13 members from AIADMK, six each from Janata Dal (U), and Samajwadi Party (6), seven from BJD, four from BSP decided to walk out, resulting in a reduced majority mark in the Upper House that helped the bill sail through. In fact, four Congress leaders Vivek Tankha, Pratap Singh Bajwa, Mukut Mithi and Ranjib Biswal were absent even as another member Sanjay Singh resigned from the Congress and the Rajya Sabha earlier in the day. 

Besides, five members of the Samajwadi Party were absent during the voting. One member each from Trinamool Congress, DMK, IUML and Kerala Congress were also absent at the time of voting. 

Now the debate has come to Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, whose members also boycotted the voting. The BJP duo abstained thus helping the BJP indirectly. 

PDP verbally opposed the bill as Mehbooba termed that BJP was “entering our homes” using the legislation. After the passage of the bill, Mehbooba criticised the need to pass the bill banning instant triple talaq. 

“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?,” Mehbooba said in a tweet. 

She was quickly reacted by Omar Abdullah questioning her logic and reminded her of how PDP’s abstention helped them in getting the bill passed.

“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 the need to pass”!” Omar’s tweet read.

The exchange of tweets triggered many responses calling out the two former Chief Ministers and accusing them of ‘hypocrisy’.

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