New Delhi: Government today played down the embarrassment it suffered in the Rajya Sabha on the motion of thanks to the President’s Address, saying it has no relevance except as a reminder that treasury benches do not have a majority. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it was “unfair” on the part of the opposition to “force” this kind of amendment, but added that there was “nothing new” in it as it had happened on three occasions earlier.
Earlier in the day, Opposition amendment to the motion was carried in a division of votes by 118 to 57, reflecting the lack of majority for the treasury benches. He told reporters outside Parliament that the amendment said there was no mention in the President’s Address about ‘the failure of the government to curb high level corruption and to bring back black money’ even though the address had highlighted in detail the measures being taken by the Centre.
“It has no relevance. The Opposition’s criticism of the government is unfair,” he said while noting that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also spoken elaborately about the measures, including making new law, being taken by the government to stop generation of black money and bring it back. He also rejected criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for leaving the Rajya Sabha after his address, saying he could not stay there after the opposition pressed for division of votes on its amendment as he was not a member of the House.
“We tried to convince the opposition (against moving amendment). I wish it could have been avoided. It is just a reminder of the fact that we do not have numbers in Rajya Sabha. People are with us but we don’t have a majority in the Upper House,” Naidu said.