We have adequate numbers in the Rajya Sabha: Ghulam Nabi Azad
New Delhi: Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, has said the Congress will oppose any move by the Narendra Modi government to push “dictatorial” bills in the Rajya Sabha, teaming up with non-BJP and non-NDA parties in the house to ensure that legislation which affects the interests of the people is not passed.
“We have adequate numbers in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress will team up with all non-BJP, non-NDA parties to obstruct any bill which is not in the interest of the people or which represents the dictatorial mindset of the ruling coalition,” Azad told in an interview.
“The Congress will oppose any move by the centre to push dictatorial bills or measures in the Rajya Sabha,” Azad added.
The budget session may be convened in the second week of July, when the government will present the railway budget and the general budget, apart from pushing some crucial bills.
While the NDA has 336 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) itself contributing 282 seats – 10 more than the half-way mark of 272 – it is desperate for the half-way mark in the upper house to ensure passage of bills. The Congress has 67 members in the 245-member Rajya Sabha. To inch closer to a majority, it may team up with the Left parties,the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party which have 11, 9 and 14 seats respectively.
The 65-year-old former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, often reckoned as a Congress crisis manager, alleged the BJP was making efforts to wean away regional parties, more specifically Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, to its fold.
He said the Congress was prepared to foil the move.
“Jayalalithaa will not give in to their tactics. She is a seasoned player and has worked with prime ministers of all hues and colours. The Congress will never let the BJP take away smaller parties to secure a majority in the house,” said Azad.
Azad, the former union health minister, also took on the BJP for “trying to consolidate unrestrained power” and said its one month in office revealed the “minimum government, maximum governance” agenda was merely a tool to that end.