As the Rajya Sabha passed the "historic" GST Bill on Wednesday, the electronic voting system provided some moments of amusement as the number of total votes kept varying by a small degree each time a clause or amendment was put to vote. As the motion to adopt the bill was put to vote, the number of ayes was 197 while the number of noes was nil.
However, by the time clause two was put to vote, the number of 'ayes' went to 200 to zero 'noes' and for clause 11 there were 201 ayes while noes remained zero. The varying figure prompted Congress member Anand Sharma to comment that while lobbies have been cleared, it seemed that four people have appeared. Amid amusement all around, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said the figure was subject to correction.
However, when clause was put to vote, there were 203 ayes and this time Mr Kurien himself remarked that the number of "ascending." The number of total votes kept varying and when there were 205 'ayes' at one stage, Mr Kurien himself quipped that "there is some magic also." The number again came down to 198 ayes later but finally the bill was passed with 203 ayes.
As the key reform crossed a major milestone, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley walked up towards opposition benches shaking hands and exchanging greetings with leaders of different parties including former PM Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
He also shook hands and greeted other leaders like Trinamool Congress's Derek O Brien, Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Kanimojhi (DMK), Sharad Yadav (JD-U) and Mayawati (BSP). Later, he cut a cake in his chamber.