The bill to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories sailed through Rajya Sabha on Monday, with several opposition parties walking out, bringing down the majority mark, and others siding with the government. Amid a political storm that started on Monday morning since home minister Amit Shah's announcement in parliament, the resolution was passed through a voice vote - 125 members voted in its favour and 61 voted against it.
Among those that sided with government were Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal, Jagan Reddy's YSR Congress, N Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party and in a surprise addition -- Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party. Together with government, that took the number to 117.
In the 242-member Rajya Sabha, the ruling National Democratic Alliance has 107 members, well short of the 121 majority mark.
But Trinamool Congress, which has 13 members walked out and BJP ally Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United, which has six members, boycotted the voting. Two lawmakers of the People's Democratic Party were suspended for tearing up the constitution in protest against home minister Amit Shah's announcement. There were also reports that several opposition members might skip the voting.
Amid a huge troop build-up leading to an unrest in the state, Amit Shah this morning announced that special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution has been removed by an order from President Ram Nath Kovind. He also announced the government's bifurcation plan that involved splitting the state into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir, which would have a legislature and Ladakh, which won't have one.
The Congress had led the opposition protests against the Kashmir decisions along with a handful of parties - the Samajwadi Party, the DMK, Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties. The Trinamool Congress and Nitish Kumar's party had also opposed the move, but ended up helping the government by walking out.