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The united opposition in Rajya Sabha on Thursday blocked the much sought after a bill by the Central Government that proposes to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to allow the overseas voters to appoint proxies to cast their votes in the state assemblies and Lok Sabha elections.
To their amazement, most of the opposition parties found that a bill Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was listed in the business list. In the Business Advisory committee meeting took place in the chamber of Rajya Sabha chairman, most of the leaders, including Venkaiah Naidu, opposed the ways saying treasury benches listed the proposed legislation without their consultation.
The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha asked the Government to discuss with the opposition on the bill and find a consensus. The opposition parties as well decided to oppose the Triple Talaq Bill as passed by the Lok Sabha if it comes to Rajya Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his most of the visit to foreign countries assured the non-Resident Indian community that they will be given voting rights for the Lok Sabha and assembly polls of the country. The Government was very keen to bring the bill before the coming Lok Sabha poll.
The bill was passed in Lok Sabha in the last monsoon session of the Parliament.
Central Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad gave an argument that it would be a "momentous event" and a big opportunity was being given to NRIs. He said the constitution makers had given the right to vote to all Indians and as such the NRIs also had the right.
"Let us not deride the contribution of NRIs. They have made a place for themselves by their hard work. Their commitment to India is truly remarkable," he said.
Responding to the apprehension of some members that the proxy provision can be used fraudulently, he said rules will be made in such a way that if the law is flouted, it will lead to cancellation of the mandate.