Doublespeak exposes regional parties during RS triple talaq debate

A view of the Rajya Sabha during the discussion on the triple talaq bill, in the Rajya Sabha at Parliament, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Political doublespeak of many parties over the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 – popularly known as triple talaq bill – came to the fore on Tuesday (July 30) during the debate in Rajya Sabha.

AIADMK’s lone MP in Lok Sabha, P Raveendranath Kumar, son of Tamil Nadu’s deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, endorsing the bill in totality said, “If women are given the right opportunities they will achieve great success,” Kumar said.  However, the party stand in the Upper House was different. All the 11 AIADMK members walkout of the Rajya Sabha opposing the bill.

During the debate, A Navaneethakrishnan, AIADMK Rajya Sabha floor leader, said that the bill was “unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal and not sustainable under law”.

During the tenure of the previous Lok Sabha, the AIADMK had vociferously opposed the Bill, and had once even staged a walkout over the issue. Former MP from Ramanathapuram A Anwhar Raajhaa, who was vocal in his opposition to the Bill, asserted that there was “no change” in the party’s position on the legislation. “Raveendranath favouring the bill was not party’s stand on this legislation. I am not sure if Kumar had got prior instructions before conveying his support on this bill,” Raajhaa said.

According to news reports, Tamilisai Soundararajan, Tamil Nadu BJP president, said, “AIADMK’s move to oppose the triple talaq bill is nothing but a ploy to win votes in the upcoming Vellore bypolls. This is the same strategy used by DMK.”

Also read: Triple talaq law a travesty of justice but triumph of politics

The Dravidian party wasn’t the only blacksheep, regional parties like the Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Telugu Desam Party, who were originally opposed to the bill, walked out of the Rajya Sabha, which helped the BJP-led NDA government to pass the bill.

The Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP’s stand lead to a Twitter war of words between the former chief minister and National Conference chief Omar Abdullah.

Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Fail to understand the need to pass the triple talaq bill especially since the Supreme Court had already declared it illegal. Undue interference seemingly to punish Muslims. Given the current state of the economy, should this really have been a priority?”

In reply, Omar Abdullah, said, “Mehbooba Mufti ji, you might want to check how your members voted on this bill before tweeting. I understand they abstained which helped the government with the numbers needed to pass the bill. You can’t help the government & then fail to understand need to pass!”

Snapping each other on social media, Mehbooba suggested Omar to get off his moral high horse since it was their own party that expelled senior leader Saifuddin Soz for voting against the BJP in 1999.

Also read: RS passes triple talaq bill, PM calls it ‘victory for gender justice’