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Another parliament washout looms over Uttarakhand, Ishrat Jahan issues

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New Delhi, April 23 : With the Congress set to corner the government over the dismissal of the Uttarakhand government and the ruling BJP intending to strongly counter it over “faulty” investigation in cases related to Ishrat Jahan and Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit, yet another parliament session, this one beginning on Monday, looks set for a washout.

The possibility of the two camps reconciling are remote as the confrontation is at the very top level, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) determined to take on Congress president Sonia Gandhi for “influencing changes” in the Ishrat Jahan affidavit, while the Congress too finds fault with no less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.

“We do not see any harmony. The acrimonious mood will thus prevail even in both houses in parliament. You can expect washout of another session,” former Samajwadi Party MP Shailendra Kumar told IANS here.

Kumar’s pessimism is not isolated as many sitting lawmakers — from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – too feel that scenes of pandemonium would be repeated once again and the much-required Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill will continue to remain stalled.

Moreover, the ruling party has also stepped up attack on former home minister P. Chidambaram alleging that his decision to alter the affidavit on Ishrat Jahan was probably at the instance of higher ups in his party.

“All these certainly seem to slam Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and therefore, reconciliation between BJP and Congress does not appear likely,” the Samajwadi Party leader said.

In fact, the sentiment among non-Congress and non-BJP parties is that the confrontation between the ruling party and the opposition camp has got further aggravated.

“It has become a pattern. Every time on the eve of the parliament sessions, Congress and BJP instead of reaching out to each other try to raise the level of confrontation. The casualty is the smooth functioning of parliament,” a member of Odisha-based regional party Biju Janata Dal told IANS.

Besides eyeing the passage of long-pending Goods and Service Tax Bill, the fate of the National Waterways Transportation Bill, Consumer Protection Bill and the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that seek to improve ease of doing business also hang in the balance. The parliamentary panel’s report on the vexed land acquisition bill is also awaited.

Congress has decided to stick to its aggressive posture on Uttarakhand. Anand Sharma, the party’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, where the government is in minority, has already moved a notice for passing of a resolution, criticising the Narendra Modi-led government for imposing President’s Rule in the state.

“It was a gross lapse on the part of government to have dismissed the Harish Rawat government just hours before the trial of strength in the assembly,” Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Ambika Sonia said.

Congress and its allies including the Left parties may also stage protests outside parliament to highlight the Centre’s “misuse of power” and giving cooperative federalism the go by.

On alleged moves by the Modi government to let the Samjhauta Express blast accused Col Purohit off the hook or for dilution of alleged ‘Hindu terror’ cases filed under the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, the Congress has demanded removal of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar.

For its part, the BJP members like Anurag Thakur and Kirit Somaiya have said they will raise issues like the Ishrat Jahan case probe in Lok Sabha.

“I will raise these issues in Lok Sabha as the Congress action on Ishrat Jahan not only exposes its prejudiced mind to play vote bank politics, but this has serious impact on national security as a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative was being given out as a helpless and innocent victim while police and security personnel were implicated,” Anurag Thakur told IANS.

The saffron party’s attack against the Congress leadership is likely to be a multi-pronged strategy.

BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi has already alleged that the saffron terror phrase was first used in 2009 and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had reportedly said in an interaction in July 2010 that ‘Hindu terrorism’ was more dangerous than other terrorism.

“Subsequently home minister P. Chidambaram used the saffron terrorism phrase in parliament in August 2010. Congress leader Digvijay Singh in Mumbai had released a book that had linked the RSS to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,” Trivedi alleged and wanted to know “how all these coincidences happened together”.

On behalf of Congress, Ashok Gehlot has accused Modi and Amit Shah of trying to defame the Congress president and vice president in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case to “draw political mileage”.

Responding to the salvo that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had instructed Chidambaram to change the affidavit, the Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewalla has said that Modi was trying to derail the probe.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has now called an all-party meeting on Sunday to ensure smooth functioning of the house. But as usual not many are optimistic about the outcome.

Politics

BJP robs common to pay capitalists: Ajay Kumar Lallu

That is why the government is not making any law to guarantee a minimum support price for farmers’ crops, he added.

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Ajay Kumar Lallu

Raebareli, Jan 27 : UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu on Wednesday accused the BJP of duping common men to benefit capitalists.

Lallu made the allegation while addressing a gathering here in Harchandpur block as a part of the ‘Sangathan Srijan Abhiyaan’, a campaign aimed at strengthening the party.

“The BJP has formed the government after getting your votes but it is giving all the benefits to capitalists. The people have now understood the deceit that the BJP has subjected them to, said the UP congress chief.

The people are now ready to give the BJP a befitting reply, he added.

“Whatever we buy from the market, we give 20 to 30 per cent as tax to the government. The government does not spend any money out of the tax on the public, it spends it all on industrialists, said Lallu.

That is why the government is not making any law to guarantee a minimum support price for farmers’ crops, he added.

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Politics

Appeal to Modi govt that anti-agriculture laws be taken back immediately: Rahul Gandhi

As protesting farmers clashed with police at several places in Delhi, Gandhi said on Tuesday that violence is not the solution to any problem and sought repeal of the three farm laws in “national interest”.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Jan 27 : A day after violence during the farmers’ tractor rally in the national capital, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appealed to the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday to repeal, what he claimed were, “anti-agriculture” laws.

Taking to Twitter, he also shared a quote by Mahatma Gandhi — “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

“Once again, I appeal to the Modi government that the anti-agriculture laws be taken back immediately,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

His appeal to the government came a day after tens of thousands of farmers broke barriers to storm the national capital as their tractor parade to highlight their demand of repealing the laws dissolved into unprecedented scenes of anarchy.

Deviating from the designated route for the tractor parade, protesting farmers also hoisted flags from some domes as well as the flagpole at the Red Fort, the centrepiece of India’s Independence Day celebrations, to hoist the Nisan Sahib, the Sikh religious flag.

As protesting farmers clashed with police at several places in Delhi, Gandhi said on Tuesday that violence is not the solution to any problem and sought repeal of the three farm laws in “national interest”.

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Haryana MLA Abhay Chautala resigns over farm agitation fall out

Twenty five Jat leaders, including four Chautalas, were elected to the state assembly in October 2019.

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Abhay Chautala

Chandigarh, Jan 27 : The lone legislator of Haryana’s Indian National Lok Dal Abhay Singh Chautala on Wednesday resigned from the Assembly over the three new farm laws and registration of cases against farmer leaders for the violence in Delhi on Republic Day.

Chautala reached the assembly here riding a tractor and handed over his resignation to Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, who accepted it.

In his resignation, he cited the reason as non-acceptance of the demand of the protesting farmers seeking roll back of all the three farm laws.

“Shri Abhay Singh Chautala, who represents Ellanabad assembly constituency, he came to me personally and tendered his resignation. I believe that the resignation that he has submitted is correct in all technical aspects. I have accepted it.

“He has referred to his earlier two letters that he had sent to me citing union government’s refusal to accept farmers’ demands,” a statement by the Speaker said.

Talking to the media, Chautala blamed the BJP for perpetuating violence in Delhi on Republic Day.

Earlier this month, Chautala, the grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal, sent a “conditional” resignation letter to the Speaker, offering to resign from the assembly in Haryana if the Centre failed to repeal the new agricultural laws by January 26.

In his letter, Chautala had said it should be considered a resignation from the Assembly if the Central government failed to repeal the three farm laws by January 26.

His party’s breakaway faction, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), is the crucial coalition partner in the state BJP government led by Manohar Lal Khattar.

JJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has been maintaining a stoic silence in public over the issue of farmers, who have been staging protests on the border of the national capital, demanding revoking of the agricultural laws, for the past 63 days.

The INLD and the JJP are primarily rural Jat-centric parties with the farmers as their core vote bank. The Jats, a dominant farming community, comprise 28 per cent of the state’s population.

Twenty five Jat leaders, including four Chautalas, were elected to the state assembly in October 2019.

Coming out openly for the first time with the protesting farmers, JJP national chief and former MP, Ajay Singh Chautala, who is the brother of Abhay, on December 2, 2020, said the Centre should give, in writing, an assurance on the minimum support price (MSP) to the protesting farmers that largely come from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Political observers believe pressure on the JJP within the party to withdraw its support to the state government has been gaining as the BJP Central leadership has been adopting a ‘tough posture’ on its three agricultural laws.

Besides the JJP’s 10 legislators, seven independent MLAs had also extended support to the BJP, helping it reach a tally of 57 seats in the 90-member Assembly.

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