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20 opposition MPs urge President to not grant assent to Agri Bills

The Opposition MPs said that the issue raised is, however, of much wider importance.

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Opposion MPs

New Delhi, Sep 22 : At least 20 opposition MPs on Monday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him not to grant assent to the controversial Agriculture Bills, alleging that the way they were passed without any debate was a “murder of democracy”.

“We, belonging to diverse political parties cutting across India’s political and geographical spectrum, bring this representation to you to respectfully draw your urgent attention to the absolute and total murder of democracy, ironically in the most hallowed temple of democracy, parliament,” read the letter signed by leaders of the Congress, the Left, the NCP, the DMK, the Samajwadi Party, the Shiv Sena, the Janat Dal-Secular, the Trinamool Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, among others.

The Opposition MPs said that the issue raised is, however, of much wider importance.

“We are concerned with something which affects the very backbone of the Indian Republic viz its ‘annadata’, the community of farmers,” they said.

It said that on issue like this, “majoritarian, insensitive and uncaring” governance has no role and all stakeholders have to listen, absorb, imbibe and thereafter act with humility. There is no place for the politics of ‘zid’ (stubbornness) and arrogance. Instead the voice of those speaking for the farmers was sought to be stifled.

“Most unfortunately, the latter was in full force in government instructions to all, given with the brazen object of ramming legislation down the throat of disagreeing Parliamentarians without allowing it to be tested freely and fairly by vote by division,” it said.

It further said that the Bills were purportedly treated as passed though were never voted upon.

“Division, asked not by one but innumerable Members, was denied,” it alleged, adding that motions and statutory resolutions, including for amendments were not even looked at, much less considered.

“No attempt was made to even try for a sense of the House or a consensus as to whether the House should sit beyond the strictly prescribed 1 p.m. or continue the next day. September 20, most inexplicably and mysteriously, was treated as if it was the last day of the Session and as if heavens would fall if voting with division was heald on September 21,” it said.

It further said that massive show of force was exerted by security personnel invited inside the House in numbers exceeding those of the MPs present.

“Almost half the Rajya Sabha was seated in the LOk Sabha chamber and the chair neither looked towards them; large parts of the proceedings in the RS chamber were not even audible to those of the RS in the LS chamber. It further said that the egregious and brazen acts of the government, in clear collusion with the legislative organ of our Republic, is also proof positive of the lack of numbers and lack of support with the government qua passage of these Bills.

“It is clear that the government was fully aware that the Bills could not and would not be passed due to wide opposition, cutting across political lines, including strong opposition from several NDA allies and supporters and consequently tactics were adopted to supposedly pass the Bills in a tyrannical manner unknown to our Constitution,” it alleged.

“We pray that you return the bills and do not append your signature,” it said.

In the morning, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu suspended eight MPs, minutes after the House reconvened. These lawmakers from the Trinamool Congress, the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Aam Aadmi Party were accused of creating ruckus in Parliament on Sunday.

The motion was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan, following which the House suspended Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen of the Trinamool, Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora, and Syed Naseer Hussain of the Congress, Sanjay Singh of the AAP and K.K. Ragesh and E Kareem of the CPI-M.

The opposition members indulged in sloganeering after the resolution was moved by voice vote.

Earlier, Naidu said that it was a “sad day for democracy” and “unfortunate” and “condemnable”, as he rejected a no-confidence motion against Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed bedlam on Sunday as the government sought to get cleared two of the three contentious farm Bills amid unrelenting opposition protests. O’Brien allegedly tore a rule book while Satav and Sanjay Singh climbed on a table in the House to protest.

Cities

Heavy rainfall forecast in Odisha, districts put on alert

A depression formed over northwest and adjoining west central Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours, the IMD said.

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Karnataka Rain

Bhubaneswar, Oct 23 : The Odisha government on Thursday said it has alerted all district Collectors to remain alert as several parts of the state are likely to receive heavy rainfall in the next two days.

Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Jena said that the districts under red, yellow and orange warning are required to make advanced planning and remain fully prepared to meet any eventuality arising out of flood, water-logging and possible landslides in hilly areas.

The Indin Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red warning for Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts, orange warning for Puri district, and yellow warning for Ganjam, Khurdha, Cuttack, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts for the next two days.

Meanwhile, several places in the state started receiving rainfall on Thursday.

A depression formed over northwest and adjoining west central Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours, the IMD said.

The system is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh coasts as a deep depression between Sagar islands (West Bengal) and Khepupara (Bangladesh) over Sundarbans by Friday afternoon, it said.

The Met Department said heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely to occur at isolated places over Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore. Squally weather with wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph and gusting to 50 kmph is likely along the coast in all the four districts, it said.

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India

Day after chaos, Delhi University’s pro-VC removed

Meanwhile, The DU Teachers’ Association condemned the series of events and termed them as “unprecedented chaos”.

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Delhi University

New Delhi, Oct 22 : The drama over the appointment of the new registrar has taken an ugly turn as Delhi University’s (DU) pro-Vice Chancellor, P.C. Joshi, has been removed from his position on Thursday.

The development came a day after he cleared the appointment of a new registrar, even as Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi had appointed another person for the same position.

Joshi will be replaced by Geeta Bhatt, a member of right-wing teachers’ group, National Teachers’ Democratic Front (NDTF).

Bhatt is also a leading member of the Group of Intellectuals and Academics (GIA), which had said that the Delhi riots of February were a conspiracy of “Jihadis” and “Urban Naxals”.

Soon after her appointment, Bhatt took out an order saying that Joshi is “without any jurisdiction and lawful authority”.

The chaos at the university began when the joint-registrar’s office issued a notification naming P.C. Jha as the Director of the university’s South Campus and as interim registrar from October 21.

“He has been appointed as Director of South Campus in place of Suman Kundua with immediate effect till further orders. He will also act as Registrar, University of Delhi, as an interim arrangement, with immediate effect till further orders,” the notification said.

According to university sources, the fight is between two factions, one backed by the Vice Chancellor, who backed Jha, and Joshi, who on the same day of Jha’a appointment, sent him a letter of “illegally occupying the office”.

“In case you are not vacating the office immediately, you will be forcibly moved out of office and action will be initiated against you,” Joshi said in the letter to Jha.

Meanwhile, professors and officials at the university have called the fiasco disturbing and humiliating for the university.

“The reputation of the university is built over decades and it can be lost within no time. Only one side can be right, but here both the sides are issuing letters, showing a situation of lawlessness. Those who are in power did not care about the reputation of the university, especially during admission time,” said a professor of the university.

Meanwhile, The DU Teachers’ Association condemned the series of events and termed them as “unprecedented chaos”.

Vice Chancellor Tyagi, who is on medical leave at the moment, did not respond to the reporter’s calls and messages.

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Cities

Andhra Pradesh Group-I mains exams postponed

“The revised dates will be announced on October 29 after complying with the instructions of the AP High Court,” he said.

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board exam

Amaravati, Oct 22 : The state government has postponed the Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission’s (APPSC) Group-I mains examinations on the directions issued by the high court.

“It is hereby informed that the mains (descriptive type) examinations for Group-I services are postponed as per the directions issued by the Andhra Pradesh High Court,” said APPSC Secretary, P.S.R. Anjaneyulu.

The examinations for plum government posts were scheduled to be held between November 2 and November 13.

“The revised dates will be announced on October 29 after complying with the instructions of the AP High Court,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state public service commission has announced that the list of candidates provisionally selected for verification of original certificates and interviews for the posts of junior lecturers has been put up on its website.

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