The Government on Wednesday faced some embarrassing moments in Lok Sabha as 12 BJP members voted against a clause of the GST Bill, instead of voting in favour.
The 12 ruling party members pressed red button instead of green when Speaker Sumitra Mahajan put the Clause 2 of the Constitution Amendment Bill to division of votes.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was piloting bill for passage, was clearly peeved at the development and was seen speaking to Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy who was involved in floor management.
Rudy, in turn, rushed to speak to the members who had ended up voting against their own government’s move.
A visibly upset Rudy was seen instructing something to the members, possibly about how to use the electronic voting mechanism.
Amid all this, Jaitley said the electronic system had not functioned properly and urged the Speaker to either have a re-division of votes or get the exact votes through slips.
Opposition members, clearly enjoying the scene, opposed this. “This is not done… You cannot have this. We oppose,” said several opposition members.
Mahajan, however, conceded to Jaitley’s request and put the clause to the vote again.
The re-division saw the number of votes against the government going down to five from 24 and the number of those supporting it went to 354 against 264 earlier. 364 members voted this time while only 297 had voted earlier.
The debate on the Bill before it was passed witnessed some light moments too.
Jaitley, in his reply, took a dig at Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of Congress for his “kabhi haan kabhi na (sometime yes, sometime no)” jibe at BJP and said the description fitted the Congress.
When Congress President Sonia Gandhi smiled at his comment, Jaitley said he was happy that she smiled as she had also smiled when Chowdhury had spoken.
Gandhi was heard telling him something and both leaders shared a laugh.
At another point, the Finance Minister took a dig at Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress.
Roy, while making a point on the GST provisions, said West Bengal government where his party is ruling, had imposed ‘luxury tax’ on tobacco products.
To this, Jaitley said he was appreciative of this tax, “an excessive smoker like you (Roy) should give up this luxury”.
He said Roy is often found smoking in the smokers’ room next to the Central Hall of Parliament, evoking laughter from some members. The Trinamool member did not respond.