As the Parliament cleared the contentious Triple Talaq Bill with 99 "Ayes" and 84 "No" on Tuesday, several opposition parties, including Congress, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM criticized the same. While some of them marked today’s date as the black day in the Indian history, others questioned the relevance of the bill.
Amidst this balme game between Centre and opposition parties, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference (NC) chief Omar Abdullah got engaged in a separate war of words with the latter accusing the PDP of helping the government to pass the bill. Abdullah's attack on Mufti comes moments after the PDP chief targeted the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government for passing the Triple Talaq Bill.
"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?" Mufti tweeted.
Within no time Abdullah responded to her tweet and said she should have checked how her party members voted on the bill before tweeting.
"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 and then fail to understand need to pass," Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
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”! https://t.co/Z0Ma5ST5ko— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 30, 2019
Mufti hit back, suggesting Abdullah to get off his moral high horse since it was his own party that expelled Soz sahab for voting against the BJP in 1999. "FYI in parliament, abstention is essentially a no vote," she stated.
Stepping up the war of words, Abdullah replied: "Madam, is recounting an incident from TWENTY years ago the best you can do to defend PDP duplicity? So you are accepting you instructed your MPs to abstain. And no an abstention is NOT a no vote, a no vote is a no vote. An abstention helped the BJP this time".
Madam, is recounting an incident from TWENTY years ago the best you can do to defend PDP duplicity? So you are accepting you instructed your MPs to abstain. And no an abstention is NOT a no vote, a no vote is a no vote. An abstention helped the BJP this time. https://t.co/wSolvuk8Mq— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 30, 2019
Reacting to the passage of the bill, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked what was the need to criminalise the practice when the Supreme Court had already struck down it in 2017. Another Congress leader Raj Babbar described the move as a "big jolt" to family laws in India.
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Kapil Sibal took a swipe at the parties and individuals who abstained during voting, saying it is sad to note that "those who claimed they oppose the bill and will vote against it, were not present in the House during voting".
"One should ask them as to why they abstained. If they were not to come to the House during voting, why did they make tall claims that they will vote against the bill?" Sibal said. Nearly 20 opposition MPs, including five each from the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, were not present in Rajya Sabha during voting on the contentious triple talaq bill this evening.
Taking to Twitter, Owaisi said, "Triple Talaq Bill should be seen only as one part of many attacks on Muslim identity and citizenship since 2014. Mob violence, police atrocities and mass incarceration won't bog us down. With a firm belief in the Constitution, we've withstood oppression, injustices and denial of rights".
The Rajya Sabha passed the bill by 99 votes in favour and 84 against it. Minutes before, it rejected an opposition sponsored motion to send the bill to a Rajya Sabha Select Committee with 100 votes against it as compared to 84 in favour.