BJP President Amit Shah is unhappy about the absence of BJP leaders in the Rajya Sabha and has now pulled them up, seeking explanations for their absence in the Upper House.
NDTV reports that Shah gave them a dressing down at the BJP's weekly meeting of MPs on Tuesday and wanted them to submit written explanations about why they were missing from the Upper House on Monday.
This comes after Monday's embarrassment for the government where the Opposition moved amendments to and dropped a clause from The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill was to provide for the setting up of a National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) and four amendments to which had been approved by the House earlier.
The Opposition was able to do that not just because of the lack of government MPs in the Rajya Sabha, but also because many of the BJP MPs were not present.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said told The Times of India, "When the party issues a whip, members must be present in the House. The party president has taken a serious view of the absence of members. He said it should not have happened and must not be repeated."
The newspaper reports that the amendments were passed by 74 votes from the Opposition, against 52 votes from the government.
The BJP has 56 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. But in total, the ruling NDA now has the support of 88 members including those from new ally JD(U).
NDTV had reported on Monday that the government had an objection to the Opposition's demand that all five members of the NCBC have to be from the OBC community and one of them had to be a woman, and one from another minority community.
However just due to sheer lack of strength of the ruling NDA, the Opposition was able to pass the bill.
Criticising the government for its poor show, Congress leader P Chidambaram had told the Indian Express, "The government was totally unprepared and nonchalant. It did not even have full strength. A constitutional amendment is serious business. The government (was) not at all serious."
It was only last week that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had express unhappiness over the attendance of BJP MPs in Parliament.
ANI had reported that in last week's BJP Parliamentary board meeting Modi had said that absenteism by BJP MPs was a serious flaw and that needed to be overcome.
As pointed out by this Indian Express report, a Constitutional Status to the NCBC would have helped BJP in the upcoming elections in Rajasthan and Gujarat and also in the Southern states where backward class votes plat a key role.
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