Debate in Loksabha over the Triple Talaq Bill was one of the many debates I have seen in parliament over many years, though I will not rate it amongst my all-time best debates. Here is what happened –
Law Minister introduced the Bill and made a small but impressive speech. The speaker initiated the debate.
The first speaker was Kumari Sushmita Dev, Congress MP from Silchar, Assam. She had surely done her homework well and I must say that she really set the tone of the debate by raising some valid points. She was fluent and articulated her views really well. (4.5/5)
The next speaker was Meenakshi Lekhi. The firebrand Delhi MP tore through the opposition and gave numerous examples and anecdotes to explain why the historic bill was the need of the hour. Using her knowledge of law to great effect, she peppered her arguments with scientific and statistical data, facts & figures. It was a superb speech. She ended her speech with Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s words –
“माना ये सुनसान घड़ी सख्त बडी है.. लेकिन मेरे दिल, ये तो फकत एक घड़ी है.. हिम्मत करो, जिनेको अभी उम्र पड़ी है।” (4.8/5)
Anwhar Raaja of Ramnathpuram (AIADMK) was the next. He spoke in Tamil. He asked few questions to people on both the sides in Tamil, but nobody responded. He spoke passionately. But I didn’t understand a word of it! His body language and voice modulation indicated that he was vehemently opposing TT. Even AIADMK members were looking disinterested and clueless. (1/5)
Tathagat Satpathy, BJD MP from Dhenkanal (Odisha) began speaking in Odiya. The translators didn’t work. He blamed the ‘domination of Hindi over regional languages’ for this malfunctioning of devices! He called it a ‘socially relevant’ bill but opposed the clause that made the offence criminal! Somehow, he was against making any new laws and said that highest per capita laws on the planet were in India. He even asked if Hindu magistrate or Hindu cops will do justice in TT cases! This man badly needs tuitions in speech-making.(2/5)
The next was MP Ravindra Babu Pandula of TDP from Amlapuram. He kept is short and sweet. Speaker just had to tell him once to wind up and he was happy to oblige. As if he was waiting to be told to sit down. During his speech his main worry was this – Muslim females produce many babies and hence they should be not left in the lurch and the govt must take care of them.(2.8/5)
Arvind Sawant, Shivsena MP from South Mumbai spoke of Shahu Maharaj, Savitribai Phuke, Tilak, Agarkar and of course Bal Thakre. He then praised Sushmita Dev & Meenakshi Lekhi for there speeches. Then he asked for abrogation of Art370 and bringing in Uniform civil code. As expected, he ended his speech and the trauma of the audiences of DD-LS with standard Jai Hind Jai Maharashtra!(3/5)
Dr Sampath, CPI-M from Attingal(Kerala) invoked Ramkrishna Paramhans & Vivekananda(Narendra) in the beginning of his speech. Next, he went on to talk rubbish while opposing the bill. In between he praised Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad and called Sumitra Mahajan ‘Amma of the house’. Ye Bhai bhi pata nahi kya kehna chah raha tha.(2.5/5)
V P Velagapalli YSRCP MP from Tirupati was looking confused. He supported bill without punishment provisions. So he wanted a ban on instant triple talaq but no punishment if someone gives TT. Phew! (2.2/5)
Supriya Sule NCP MP from Baramati said that it was an emotional day for all women, spoke well and even touched upon very complex social issues like female foeticide, dowry and marital rape, in addition to the Triple Talaq. It was a good speech and looked as if the MP was well-prepared.(4/5)
The next speaker was M J Akbar and inarguably the best speaker of the day. He pointed out that the issue of TT affects 9Cr population of the country which is more than the entire population of UK. M J Akbar, MoS, External Affair, took AIMPLB to the cleaners. Questioned it’s credibility. Questioned crocodile tears over ‘maintenance’ concerns raised by opposition parties when they ignored Shahbanu’s 127 rupees per month maintenance. “Islam khatre me Hai” is a slogan, he claimed, is used to spread venom. “Kuch khatre me Nahi hai, sirf kuch mussalman mardon ki jabardasti khatre me hai.”, he said. He went on to remind that Shari’ah is just a path and the word is used only once in Quran. “Why not chop of hands of a thief” he asked to those who want Sharia. If you can get the video of his speech, save it forever. Lots of Mirchi moments for ‘Jaahils’, very informative and with unrefutable proofs from the holy book. “Never destroy what can be good in search of the ideal” he concluded.(4.8/5)
M I Shanavas INC MP from Wayanad(Kerala) was the next. He spoke rubbish. The most stupid statement was the one when he said that TT bill is a psychological war against Muslims! (2/5)
Dharmendra Yadav, MP of SP Badaun(UP) wanted the bill to be sent to standing committee as the bill he said was a violation of human rights of the man who will be arrested! Pearls of wisdom!! Everything else he spoke was plain stupid and was almost like addressing a ‘karyakarta mela’ of SP workers.(2.6/5)
After this came the comic relief of the evening. Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav RJD MP from Banka(Bihar) began by demanding the bill be referred to Standing committee. This man then spoke about Ram Rahim, (whole speech was a prepared text and was read, that too with no fluency!) ‘Manuwadi’, Babri Masjid’, Dalit, Allah, Kabrasthan, Secularism were few things this man spoke in this debate on TT!(1/5)
By now it was almost 6.30pm and our law-makers wanted to wind up the TAMASHA. The next seven speakers ended their speeches in less than 10 minutes in all –
Prem Singh Chandumajra SAD MP from Anandpur Sahib supported the bill. Dr Arun Kumar, RSLP MP from Jahanabad(Bihar) too supported the bill. E T Md Basheer IUML MP from Ponnani(Kerala), N K Premachandran RSP Kollam (Kerala) and Rajesh Ranjan (Pappu Yadav) RJD MP from Madhepura, Bihar opposed the bill. Kaushalendra Kumar JDU MP from Nalanda, Bihar supported the bill and Dushyant Chautala INLD MP from Hisar in Haryana supported bill but wanted to remove some provisions.(2/5 for all)
Owaisi too spoke in defence of his amendments. Nobody, including opposition parties, took him seriously. The amendments were later defeated.
The Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad then replied to the debate and the bill was put to vote. Owaisi insisted for division and the most important thing came to light. The attendance in house was 250/545! So, on an important issue which is now being debated on prime time on all channels, on social media, in trains & buses and nukkads – over 54% MPs chose to not attend. Well, at the end of the debate and after division, the Ayes votes were 245/250 with no walk-outs! That means all parties supported the bill when it came to voting. The bill can be considered as ‘unanimously’ passed. It is indeed a major victory and a coup of sorts for the Modi Sarkar.
Modi Sarkar (4.9/5)
By Vedant Kumar
Follow him at @vedkr