When 12 BJP MPs voted against the GST Bill

New Delhi(web team): Meanwhile, 12 BJP members erred in voting for a clause and pressed the red button instead of green leading to the “ayes” falling short of the two-third majority.


FM Arun Jaitley speaks in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday PTI

Amidst the loud applause on passage of the GST bill in Lok Sabha, there were embarrassing moments for the government. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conspicuous by his absence during voting on the Constitutional amendment bill, 12 BJP MPs voted against instead of for a clause.

Just as voting on amendments to the bill began, several eyes turned to the Prime Minister’s vacant seat. When finance minister Arun Jaitley found out from the BJP’s chief whip Arjun Meghwal, he was told that the Prime Minister was having lunch, sources said. However, by the time he was informed the Speaker had asked for the galleries to be closed.

Being a Constitutional amendment bill, it required a two-third majority and the BJP had issued a whip to its members. Modi’s absence came as a surprise as he has been emphasising on regular attendance of MPs, particularly when a bill is being taken up.

Meanwhile, 12 BJP members erred in voting for a clause and pressed the red button instead of green leading to the “ayes” falling short of the two-third majority. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had to put the clause to vote again. The “ayes” then crossed 300. IUML’s E Ahmed said this was the first time that a clause had been put to vote again in the house.

Jaitley asked floor managers to ensure that MPs did not make mistakes. Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy then spoke to the members explaining to them how to use the voting machines. Later, when the Speaker put clauses to vote, senior leaders were heard telling members whether to press the red button or the green one.

This was the first time that the government, which had a clear mandate in the House, had to be cautious in its floor management.