22 MPs from smaller parties, independents in Rajya Sabha recognised as a consolidated bloc

parlament Rajya SabhaThe winter session of Parliament will see a changed Rajya Sabha, not because of any election being held to the Upper House, but because Vice-President Hamid Ansari has formally recognised a group of 22 MPs belonging to parties with less than four MPs and certain independents as a consolidated block — the United Group.

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. The rarity of such a grouping is not surprising considering the party-wise divisions that usually rule parliamentary practice.

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.

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