Patna: The ruling Janata Dal (United) in Bihar on Sunday asserted that its stand on the triple talaq bill, which it had opposed in the Lok Sabha despite being an NDA partner, "will be the same" when the legislation is introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
JD(U) Bihar president Vashishtha Narayan Singh, himself a Rajya Sabha member, however, did not clarify as to whether the party - headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar - would stage a walkout or abstain from voting like it had done in the Lower House, or would vote against the bill in Upper House where the NDA is way short of majority.
"This question has been posed to us many times. Our stand on this issue has always been clear. The stand was the same in the past as it is now and will remain so in future," Singh said in response to queries from journalists.
Last week, when the bill was tabled before the Lok Sabha, the JD(U) had staged a walkout after the party's leader in the House Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan made an impassioned speech about the need for awareness in place of laws to banish retrograde customs.
Lalan had also underscored that the bill, which seeks to make instant divorce punishable with three years in prison, could create an atmosphere of suspicion in the country.
Singh was addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here to announce the induction of former Union minister Mohd Ali Ashraf Fatmi who recently quit the RJD following a spat with the party's heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav.
"I have joined the JD(U) as I have full faith in the positive leadership of Nitish Kumar. It was painful for me to leave the RJD. But the party has come to be controlled by coterie. It may be too late before reality dawns on a majority of RJD leaders," said Fatmi whose son Faraz is still an RJD MLA.
Fatmi, who is one of the founding members of the RJD, had been sore when the Darbhanga Lok Sabha seat - which he had represented four times - was given to another veteran RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui.
He had hoped to be considered for Madhubani which is adjacent to Darbhanga, but when the seat went to Mahagathbandhan ally Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), he announced that he would contest as an Independent candidate.
He later gave up his plans to enter the fray but Tejashwi Yadav informed him that he has been suspended for six years.
Fatmi subsequently quit the party saying the younger son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad had been "so rude" to him over telephone.