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Government suffers embarrassment in Rajya Sabha



Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Narendra Modi government faced embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha on Friday as the opposition insisted on voting on a private member’s Resolution that had sought to amend articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution to ensure that SC/ST people are not denied reservation in any state.

The resolution said that when people of these castes migrate from one state to another in search of employment and settle there permanently, they are rendered ineligible for availing reservation benefits.

The Resolution was moved by Samajwadi Party MP Vishambhar Prasad Nishad.

The government was embarrassed as it had to vote against the Resolution to defeat it in the House amid opposition charges that it was anti-Dalit and “Manuwadi”. The resolution got 32 votes in favour and 66 against.

Had the Resolution been passed, the government would have been bound to bring a Bill in the very next session to make it a law.

As the opposition in an unusual move insisted for voting, and Deputy Chairman Harivansh who was presiding over the House ordered the lobbies to be cleared for voting even as senior ministers loudly objected to the move.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that a new precedent is being set in the House.

Usually, the private members’ resolutions are withdrawn by the MPs moving them after a discussion and the government’s assurance on the matter.

However, on Friday, after Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot while replying to the discussion said that the Modi government was committed to the welfare of the Dalits and STs but it could not immediately bring such changes as desired by the Resolution, Nishad said he would like a vote in the House on the matter.

Amid the treasury benches protest, the Chair said that once the voting had been ordered, it could not be deferred. The opposition MPs welcomed the ruling with thumping of desks.

The Resolution said that people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Denotified Castes were being deprived of facilities and concessions because of the lack of a uniform reservation system in the whole country.

“Provide uniform facilities by amending the articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution to include the homonymous and synonymous subcastes of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes according to the castes registered State-wise in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 in all the States,” the Resolution said.

“Amend the Constitution so that the persons belonging to SC/ST category in one state may be treated as the person of that SC/ST category all over the country to get the benefit of the reservation,” it said.


Rahul rejigs Odisha state Congress body



Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday reconstituted the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) including Vice Presidents, Treasurer, General Secretaries, Executive Committee members, Special Invitees, Secretaries, Disciplinary Committee, Election Committee and Campaign Committee.

While OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik will head the state’s Election Committee, Bhakta Charan Das has been appointed Chairman of the Campaign Committee. Ranjib Biswal has been made the Convener of the committee.

Kishore Chandra Patel has been appointed the Treasurer of the OPCC.

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Given up on ‘achche din’, people now await ‘sachche din’: Congress




New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modis customary Independence Day speech, the Congress on Wednesday said all the Prime Minister said was “meaningless” for the common people who have given up on “achche din” (good days) promised by Modi in 2014 and are now waiting for “sachche din” (truthful days).

“The Prime Minister in his last address to the nation (before next Lok Sabha polls) on Independence Day did not utter a single word that would be meaningful to the common person. The people are now tired of the fake ‘achche din’ and are really waiting for ‘sachche din’ when Modiji will depart as the Prime Minister of the country,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

The Congress spokesman also challenged Modi for an open debate on issues of corruption, Rafale deal, Vyapam scam, “failing” economy, falling rupee, foreign policy, mob lynchings and woman safety, among others.

“In 2013, Modiji had challenged then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to an open debate on the issues of corruption, on China and Pakistan threatening the territorial integrity of India, on falling rupee and economy, on unemployment as also farmers and women.

“We ask Prime Minister Modi today, is he ready for a debate on those very issues with the Congress President Rahul Gandhi? Will he debate on the issue of corruption, Rafale and Vyapam? Will he debate on the failing economy and falling rupee? Rupee has hit a new low of 70 per dollar and trade deficit has gone over $18 billion,” Surjewala said.

“Will he debate on the manner China has occupied Doklam, and intruding into Ladakh and engulfing India from all sides? Will he debate on Pakistan’s sponsored terrorism? Will he debate on the rampant unemployment prevailing in the country?” he added.

Commenting on Modi’s observation that world leaders are acknowledging India’s prowess, Surjewala said that Modi should desist from “undermining Indians’ contribution to the world over the last 70 years”.

“Let Prime Minister not insult India and India’s entrepreneurial spirit. It has not happened in just the last four years. India was always a power and India is a power that the world reckons with,” the Congress leader said.

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Independence Day: Can’t Handle Tricolour, Let Alone Nation, Says Congress On Amit Shah

The Congress’ jibe came after Shah fumbled while hoisting the national flag at the BJP headquarters



Amit Shah

The Congress on Wednesday took a jibe at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, saying those who cannot handle the national flag cannot be expected to handle the nation.

The Congress’ jibe came after Shah fumbled while hoisting the national flag at the BJP headquarters. The Tricolour slipped down the pole to the ground as soon as Shah pulled the string.

“How could those who cannot handle the national flag would handle the nation? If those who derided the tricolour for over 50 years had not done so, things would not have come to such a pass,” the Congress party tweeted as it shared the video of the fumble.

“Those who give certificates of patriotism to others are oblivious of the etiquette of the national anthem,” it added.

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