New Delhi: Though the Congress initiated opposition unity managed to scuttle the Land Bill, the Ordinance will lapse on April 5, this was first time in 11 years that the Grand Old Party faced defeat in the Upper House. The Congress, Left parties and the DMK opposed the bill, while JD(U) staged a walkout. Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh later said the “opposition unity (in Rajya Sabha) was issue based, every one of us are still united in our stand against the Land Bill”.
Indeed, Congress itself helped the government pass the other key reform bill – Insurance Amendment – raising of FDI in the sector from 26 to 49 per cent as also the Motor Vehicles Amendment Ordinance. The opposition unity remained intact, till the Coal and Mines bills were referred to the Select Committee. Thereafter the government could swing the regional parties, including Trinamool Congress, SP, BSP and NCP, in its favour. All of these parties voted for the government on Friday.
With the government closing the first half of the session with only one bill stuck and a Congress out on the streets, woken up from its post-2014 debacle shock, and a Left forcefully, if only verbally, countering its pro-reform agenda in Parliament, the political match appeared to have ended in a deuce.