New Delhi: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi government of misleading Muslim women on the triple talaq bill, saying that about 18 opposition parties in Rajya Sabha want to send the bill to select committee to rectify its "faults".
Azad, who is Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, also accused the BJP of seeking to use the legislation for political gains and said the ruling party was virtually "isolated" on the bill in the upper house.
He said the BJP had not accepted the demand in the Lok Sabha of referring the bill to standing committee and was not now accepting the demand to send it to Select Committee in the Rajya Sabha.
He said the opposition has a clear numerical majority in the upper house, where the bill could not be taken up for discussion on Wednesday despite the government's efforts.
"We have the numbers whether in terms of parties or the count of members. We are around 148 and they are around 75. About 18 opposition parties are united on this issue," he said, adding that if the government does not agree to the demand of sending the bill to Select Committee, then "it shows that BJP does not have faith in parliamentary democracy".
He said the bill has several lacunae including the criminality aspect in which the husband will face a jail term, noting that the husband also has to pay subsistence allowance to the woman.
"When he is in jail, who will pay the house expenses. We proposed that the government should pay but they do not agree. Is it not injustice with the women?" he asked.
Azad said a vast number of Muslims are poor and daily wage-earners and if a man faces a jail term, he will not be able to support his family and parents.
"This government is misleading people and Muslim women. This (the present bill) probably suits the BJP politically but it does injustice to Muslim women. You try to take votes in the name of Muslim women but make no arrangements for her food if the husband is in jail," he said.
"BJP is trying to be messiah of Muslims but is fooling them. What are they giving. Triple talaq had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court... The bill has nothing for Muslim women," he said.