Amendment forced by Opposition, fifth time in Independent India’s Parliamentary History

Government faced major embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha, the opposition forced amendment to the President’s address while delivering on the first day of the Budget session, It's in a row for second time and fifth time in the independent India’s Parliamentary history. In the defiance of United Opposition’s successful voting in Rajya Sabha to amend the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed the opposition not to move the amendment. Mr. Modi’s hour long speech, referred to the 300 amendments withdrew by the opposition (Wednesday) said, ‘I would appeal you to withdraw the amendments and pass the motion unanimously to preserve the dignity of that office’ and thanked the opposition for the smooth running of the House to pass the motion unanimously. The Opposition's amendment against the reference with education qualification, to make school education up to eighth/10th class mandatory for those who contest in panchayat elections, in the backdrop of restrictions imposed in Haryana and Rajasthan, both ruled by BJP. In spite of several attempts by the government including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who urged  the chair not to allow the motion to be taken up as it referred to an issue that was a state subject. “ If we vote on this today, every State will have the right to move a resolution criticizing the decision made by parliament’, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien. Opposition’s Leader Ghulam Nabi Azad moved the amendment, which was carried with the Government’s loss to the 94 votes in favor and 61 against. The Opposition succeeded in pushing the amendment through the upper house after a division, which involved electronic voting. As many as 94 out of 155 members present in the house voted in favor of the amendment, government’s lack of numbers in Rajya Sabha was a clear sign.