The BJP on Monday issued a whip to all its members in both the Houses of the Parliament for their compulsory presence throughout the week. As per ANI, “BJP has also issued whip for its Lok Sabha MPs, asking them to be present in the House on February 5 and 7.” According to another tweet by the news agency, “BJP issues a whip for its Rajya Sabha MPs, asking them to be present in the House from 5-8 February.”
The Congress also issued a three-line whip to its members stating, “All members of Congress party in the Lok Sabha are requested to kindly remain present in the House from 11 AM onwards till the adjournment of the House on February 4,5,6,7 and 8, 2019, without fail and support the party stand. This may be treated as most urgent.”
This will be the last session of the Parliament before the country goes to general elections due this summer. The Election Commission is set to announce the dates of the general polls in the first week of March.
One cannot help but delve into why the BJP might have issued such a whip to its members. The only thing of some consequence for the days for which the whip has been issued is the ‘Motion of Thanks’ following the President’s address which is completely a customary part of Parliamentary proceedings and for which the BJP might not require considerable numerical strength. It seems that something massive is on the cards.
There has been a vocal demand for legislative action in connection with the Ram Mandir for quite some time now. With judicial proceedings taking time to conclude, the devotees have been looking for a legislative solution to the issue. Modi government might just have decided to move ahead with legislative action for building the Ram temple on the disputed site.
Of late, there has been some positive movement on this front which is suggestive of the Modi government taking the issue very seriously. Last week it came to light that the Modi government had approached the Supreme Court demanding the excess land around the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site to be returned to owners. It has asked the SC to allow and hand over the land (around 67 acres) to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas or the trust in order to start the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. It maintained that only 2.7 acres of the land is disputed while the rest is clear and thus the status quo should be removed.
It must also be noted that Rakesh Sinha, the BJP MP in Rajya Sabha had earlier promised to bring a Private Members Bill for the construction of Ram Mandir and this might be the reason behind BJP issuing whip. Discussion on Private Member’s Bill is expected to take place on February 8. The BJP might have decided to throw all its weight behind this Bill. If the BJP actually moves ahead with such legislative action, then it is going to be a bold political move which will take the opposition by surprise. Of late, the Modi government has taken many bold steps including the General quota bill which turned out to be a political masterstroke. In such circumstances, it won’t be unreasonable to expect another bold step by the Modi government.