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CWC meeting on August 4, likely to discuss NRC issue

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The Congress Working Committee will meet here on August 4 and is likely to discuss, among other things, the political situation in the country and the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in Assam.

The meeting, to be held at party chief Rahul Gandhi’s residence, will be the second one under his chairmanship.

The Congress has slammed the Narendra Modi government over the NRC, saying the highly sensitive exercise has been “tardy” and led to massive insecurity in Assam.

The NRC draft, published on July 30, has excluded 40 lakh people.

The meeting of the CWC, the Congress’ highest decision-making body, is also expected to discuss the preparations for the Assembly polls in four states this year and the ticklish issue of alliances for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The CWC meeting last month had authorised Gandhi to take decision regarding alliances to oust the BJP-led government at the Centre. Gandhi had said after the meeting that a group will be formed to discuss the alliances.

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SC seeks MP Assembly Speaker’s reply on disqualification issue

MLA Saxena had contended that the Congress MLAs who switched over to the BJP cannot be appointed as Ministers, as disqualification proceedings were pending against them.

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Supreme Court

New Delhi, Sep 22 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker on a plea that sought a decision on the disqualification of 22 Congress MLAs who switched over to the BJP, an issue pending for more than six months.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna, and Justice V Ramasubramanian said: “List the matter next week. Counter affidavit may be filed in the meantime.”

Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha, representing Congress MLA Vinay Saxena, said that the case had been listed for Tuesday for a response from the Speaker.

Tankha argued that disqualification petitions were pending with the Speaker since March 12, and insisted that he should pass an order on these petitions.

The petitioner argued that 12 of the 22 MLAs had since been appointed Ministers in the state. The plea contended that the delay virtually defeated the very purpose of the anti-defection law.

The counsel for the Assembly Secretariat contended that he had received a copy of the plea on Monday and hence sought two weeks time to file a response.

The bench said that it understands the request for time but the Speaker has only to make a statement as to when these petitions would be decided, to which the counsel replied that he was representing the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat and not the Speaker.

The bench replied: “We don’t see any practical difference between the Vidhan Sabha and the Speaker.”

Tankha argued that the Speaker must decide the disqualification petitions within two weeks.

The bench listed the matter for next week and noted that the Speaker should make a statement on the issue.

The apex court had sought the Speaker’s response on the plea on August 17.

MLA Saxena had contended that the Congress MLAs who switched over to the BJP cannot be appointed as Ministers, as disqualification proceedings were pending against them.

His plea also cited an apex court ruling in a case from Manipur, wherein it held that the disqualification proceedings should be decided within a period of three months.

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India

Rajya Sabha holds crucial meeting as Opposition boycotts Parliament proceedings

The Opposition parties have alleged that they were informed just an hour ago about the BAC meeting, leaving them little time to attend the meeting.

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Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha has called its Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting on Tuesday after a day-full of hectic activities, protests and passage of several bills.

But the Opposition, which announced to boycott the Upper House for the remainder of the session, will not attend the meeting.

TMC’s Derek O’Brien, SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Congress’s Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh and RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha are the five Opposition leaders who will skip 11-member committee meeting.

The BAC is a panel led by Rajya Saha chairman Venkaiah Naidu to discuss the weekly agenda of the House.

The meeting has been called amid indications that the House might be adjourned in a day or two.

The Opposition parties also alleged that they were informed just an hour ago about the BAC meeting, leaving them little time to attend the meeting.

Rajya Sabha officials pointed out that the meeting was decided at a short notice and all efforts were made to inform the members of the panel as quickly as possible.

On Sunday, the Rajya Sabha passed the two key farm bills – Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, amid fierce protests in the house.

While the Opposition claimed that the bills were anti-farmer, the government says that these bills will help boost the farming sector through private investments. On Monday, eight Opposition MPs were suspended for unruly behaviour.

On Monday, the opposition demonstrated its disapproval in the Upper House of Parliament against the suspension of MPs and passage of these bills and boycotted the Rajya Sabha for the remaining part of the session.

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India

8 suspended Rajya Sabha MPs’ protest stretches into the night

The Congress has announced it will take to the streets, launching a mass movement across the country from September 24 to demand withdrawal of the farm bills.

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8 suspended Rajya Sabha MPs

New Delhi: The eight members of Parliament (MPs), who were suspended by Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, have been protesting near the Gandhi statue in the premises.

Their protest has been going on since the time Naidu ordered their suspension for unruly behaviour in the House during the passage of two farm bills on Sunday.

These MPs – Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen, Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress leaders Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora and Syed Nasir Hussain and KK Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem of the CPI(M) – are sitting with placards which read ‘we will fight for farmers’.

They were suspended for a week under Rule 256(2).

West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said that she is in touch with the MPs and the protest will continue through the night. “In Delhi also, the protest is going on under Gandhi Murti and it will continue the entire night, I am in touch with them,” Banerjee said in Howrah.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday that the conduct of Opposition leaders on Sunday was “shameful” and “irresponsible”.

Stating rule 256, Prasad said a member is expected to leave the House immediately if suspended by the Chairman but the Opposition leaders did not pay heed to Naidu’s words.

The Congress has, meanwhile, announced it will take to the streets, launching a mass movement across the country from September 24 to demand withdrawal of the agricultural bills.

“The decision was taken at a meeting of members of the auxiliary committee, the general secretaries and the state in-charges,” former Union Minister AK Antony said in a press conference.

The party has set a target of collecting signatures of 2 crore farmers and handing them over to the President on November 14.

It has termed the suspesion of the MPs, including three of its own, as “undemocratic” and “one-sided”.

Rajya Sabha witnessed unruly scenes on Sunday as Opposition members stormed the well and reached the deputy chairman’s seat to protest against the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. These legislations were passed through voice vote.

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