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2-min read

Haunted By Shah Bano Case, Congress Supports Triple Talaq Bill with Extreme Caution

West Bengal Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was writing a letter to the Lok Sabha secretariat on Thursday morning seeking to withdraw his objection to the introduction of the 'Triple Talaq Bill' in the legislative list of business of the House.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18_pallavighosh

Updated:December 28, 2017, 7:52 PM IST
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Haunted By Shah Bano Case, Congress Supports Triple Talaq Bill with Extreme Caution
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New Delhi: West Bengal Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was seen hurriedly scribbling a letter to the Lok Sabha secretariat on Thursday morning. The Behrampur MP was writing to the chair seeking to withdraw his objection to the introduction of the 'Triple Talaq Bill' in the legislative list of business of the House.

Behrampur has a sizable minority population. As their MP, Chowdhury, it seems, had decided to voice concerns of his constituency. That Chowdhury, out of his own volition or otherwise, decided to withdraw the objection is indicative of the caution with which Congress party has decided to tread on the issue of Triple Talaq.

So when the speaker Sumitra Mahajan called out all MPs to speak at the time of the introduction of the Bill by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, all those who had given a notice objecting to the introduction were given an opportunity to speak. Congress MPs were on their feet, but none got a chance to go on record, because no notice had come from the Congress party.

Congress stand on the issue was, however, being articulated this morning outside the House by the party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. The common refrain in his statement was that the party does not oppose 'Triple Talaq Bill' per se, but was seeking to strengthen it for the welfare of Muslim women.

For a party singed by the Shah Bano Case during Rajiv Gandhi government, Congress is being extra cautious. It was an unknown case in the overburdened courts that sprang out to acquire large political overtones that ultimately gave enough leeway to both the BJP and other regional players to grab a large section of loyal Congress voters.

Three decades later, as the Congress party attempts to put its house in order after the worst-ever defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it is treading with great care.

The narrative built around the Gujarat Campaign with its new President Rahul Gandhi’s temple hopping has been carefully choreographed. It is an image makeover exercise which Congress may take forward in other elections as well, especially in Karnataka and other poll-bound states in 2018.

So at this point, as the party is setting out to set its agenda for the next general elections, Congress has made it clear — it has no time for jarring notes that may disrupt the delicate equilibrium.

Which is why Sushmita Dev was chosen by the party to speak on the Bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. And young party MP from Assam started her speech by applauding “the women who gathered courage to go against a very regressive practice of instant Triple Talaq".

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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