Elders propose 258 amendments to the President’s address

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 10, 2014 Published on June 10, 2014

Policy issues President Pranab Mukherjee accompanied by Vice-President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Nanendra Modi before Monday’s address. PTI

The Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha have moved 258 amendments to the President’s speech.

Nullifying the amendments — ranging from river linking to approach towards neighbouring countries — is going to be a key test for the Narendra Modi Government. The NDA is a minority in the Upper House.

The practice so far has been that the Opposition does not press the amendments. But the number of amendments now show the NDA will have to work overtime with the elders to get Government business cleared in the Rajya Sabha.

Opposition leaders said such a large number of amendments reflect the concerns against the policy statement of the Centre.

“The President’s address is a rehash of the election speeches made by Narendra Modi and the manifesto of the BJP. It has no direction. The number of amendments show that the concern of Opposition parties on the direction of the Government,” said CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.

One of the amendments is against the interlinking of rivers. In paragraph 11 of the address, the President said there is a need for seriously considering all options including linking of rivers where feasible, for ensuring optimal use of our water resources to prevent the recurrence of floods and drought.

An amendment against the paragraph says the idea of interlinking of rivers is against the federal principle of the country as water is a state subject.

Defends speech

The BJP defended the speech and said it is a reflection of the hopes reposed by the voters on its leader Modi. Initiating the debate, senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Government will work for everyone.

He added that the 2014 election was different from the past elections as people of the country voted for the BJP. “In the north-eastern states of the country too, the party got people’s support,” he said.

Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the document is a copy of the schemes of the UPA Government. “There is nothing in this that we can support. It is a copy of our schemes and programmes. We have already implemented 90 per cent of the programmes listed in this address. We have done all these programmes,” he said.

Published on June 10, 2014

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