During parliament’s budget session, the Narendra Modi government introduced four contentious bills—the RTI (Amendment) Bill, the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which renders instant triple talaq illegal, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill. Almost all the opposition parties and some allies of the ruling BJP, such as the Janata Dal (United), raised concerns about the proposed new laws. Yet, the government has successfully steered the first three bills through both houses of Parliament and the fourth is also unlikely to face any resistance. The BJP has a brute majority in the Lok Sabha—303 in a house of 543 members. With NDA allies, the strength goes up to 335. In the Rajya Sabha, the BJP and allies have 113 seats, eight short of the majority mark of 121 in the 245-member house where four seats are vacant.
The numerical strength may have given the BJP immunity from any resistance from rivals, but what’s startling is the meek surrender by opposition parties both in and outside Parliament. Despite the ritualistic Twitter protests and some forceful statements in Parliament by the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), the house saw no coherent, united or compelling counter against the ruling dispensation on several bills. Opposition parties wanted the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill sen