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Smaller parties, Independents in Rajya Sabha unite for more talk time (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper II)

The United group 
Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President Hamid Ansari has recognised a group of 22 MPs belonging to parties with fewer than four members and some Independents as a consolidated bloc. They will get more time to speak in debates.

Hailing from ideologically diverse backgrounds and including nominated MPs like cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and boxer Mary Kom, this group of MPs have united to secure more time to speak in House debates, where their solitary or numerically lean status afforded them as little as three minutes of speech time.

Rarity of grouping
This is only the third time in the history of Indian Parliament that this is happening, the first was in 1983, and the second in 1990.

Place in Business Advisory Committee
With this grouping, united group  is the third largest group of MPs in the Rajya Sabha, after the Congress and the BJP and will find a place in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) that decides time allotment. 

Stimulus to create the United Group
Members from smaller parties raised this issue with the Vice-President and since it is only for the purposes of participating in debates it made a lot of sense.
Time allotted to parties to speak on debates depends entirely on their strength in the House.

Implication of United Group being formed
A grouping of this kind will, therefore, make it possible, say, for a party like the Sikkim Democratic Front with a single MP to speak for as much time as say, a Samajwadi Party with 19 MPs in the Upper House.



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