A Bill to regularize e-rickshaws introduced today in the Lok Sabha led to accusations from the Congress that the government was eroding established parliamentary mechanisms of the Business Advisory Committee and Standing Committees.
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari introduced the Bill to amend the Motor Vehicles Act even as Congress MPs were already protesting that the Bill to amend the Companies Act, 2013, be referred to a Standing Committee or Select Committee.
Congress leader Mallikarjung Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia led party MPs to demand that the MV Act amendment be referred to the standing committee. Kharge said all Bills are sent to the standing committees, something that even the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would demand when in the Opposition.
The Congress has been complaining that the government does not honour the decisions taken in the Business Advisory Committee that sits daily to allocate time to business proposed to be transacted in the House.
The Congress leader said he was reminded of how BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy made Kharge, then the Labour Minister in the UPA government, to refer a bill to the standing committee when it had required only a change in its name from “Migrant Workmen’s Bill” to “Migrant Workers’ Bill to make it gender neutral.
The Motor Vehicles Act amendment Bill to regularise e-rickshaws and provide for driving licences to drivers plying these battery-operated vehicles drew wide support in Lok Sabha today. Some members, however, wondered if the BJP government was pushing the bill with an eye on Assembly elections in Delhi in the coming months.
E-rickshaw operators have been assiduously courted by both the Aam Aadmi Party as well as the BJP in Delhi ever since the Delhi High Court banned these from Delhi roads earlier this year.