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Sena-NCP-Congress government will last full term: Pawar

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Ahmad Patel and Sharad Pawar

Nagpur, Nov 15 : Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar asserted on Friday that the proposed Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will be formed soon and serve its full five-year term.

While speaking with media persons, he dismissed the possibility of holding mid-term elections in the state, which is now under President’s Rule.

“The three parties sincerely want to form a stable and sustaining government with emphasis on development and progress in the state on a Common Minimum Programme,” Pawar said.

He added that presently, the three parties are finalising their CMP with a series of discussions and the final roadmap would emerge only after that.

Pawar denied reports that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was having discussions with the NCP to form the government or there were pressures from some corporate houses in the matter.

“We are only discussing with the Congress, Sena and our other allies. Nothing beyond these representatives of all the three parties have met in Mumbai to finalise the draft CMP,” Pawar said.

To question on former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ comments that the upcoming Sena-NCP-Congress government would collapse after six years, Pawar was amused.

“I have known Fadnavis since many years. But I never knew he was also an astrologer. I am reminded of his lines – Mee punha yaeen, Mee punha yaeen, Mee punha yaeen” Pawar remarked amidst laughter.

To a question on whether the Sena would be willing to compromise on its Hindutva credentials vis-A-vis the Congress-NCP’s secular ideals, Pawar said that the Congress-NCP always speak of secularism, “that doesn’t mean we are against anybody else”.

On the power-sharing formula and who will hold the CM’s post, Pawar said everything will fall into place once the CMP is finalised and accepted by all the parties.

Political sources say that among the formulae being discussed include the Sena getting the CM’s post for full five years, the Congress-NCP getting one Deputy CM, portfolios in the ratio of Sena and NCP 14 each, and Congress 12 plus the post of Legislative Assembly Speaker.

On Sunday, Pawar is likely to meet Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and brief her on the deliberations with the Sena here and the further course of action.

India

We need to change notion that one who backs CAB and BJP is patriot: Uddhav Thackeray

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uddhav thackeray Shiv Sena

Mumbai: After relationship with BJP went sour over Maharashtra government formation, Shiv Sena has been hitting back at its old ally, BJP, by reversing what Devendra Fadnavis government. But report have now surface saying that Shiv Sena could back the Central government’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in Parliament.

A Shiv Sena MP told the Hindustan Times that, the party has always been against intruders and is with the Centre on the issue of national security. “We are in favour of the bill as it is against infiltrators. It aims to help give citizenship rights to persecuted Hindus, Jains, Christians, and Buddhists in the three neighbouring counties,” the MP told the Hindustan Times.

The bill which aims to bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, in order to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who come to India due to religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they do not possess proper documents.

“No decision has been taken yet. Senior leaders will meet the party chief on Sunday and he will decide,” Vinayak Raut, Shiv Sena MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg told the Hindustan Times.

Twelve opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC and the Left, held a meeting on Thursday and decided on an eight-point agenda to counter the BJP on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which is likely to be tabled in Parliament next week. The meeting of senior Rajya Sabha members of opposition parties such as the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI(M), was held in Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad’s chamber, reported PTI.

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‘National Conference won’t be part of political process unless 370 restored’

“We have faith in Supreme Court,” the NC leader said. “It is a fact that Article 370 was revoked without taking the approval of the J&K Assembly.”

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Farooq Abdullah

Srinagar, Dec 10 : Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal has said the NC won’t take part in the political process until the restoration of Article 370 and statehood to Jammu & Kashmir.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, Kamal, the brother of detained former Chief Minister and NC chief Farooq Abdullah, said the National conference will not be a part of any political process that doesn’t serve the interests of the people of J&K.

“They demolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. We can’t take part in any political process in this system,” he said. “New Delhi will like to manipulate us for changing the demography of Jammu & Kashmir and enslave the people.”

He said those clamouring for the extension of Article 371 to Jammu & Kashmir are free to do so but the National Conference won’t budge from its stated position.

“We don’t want Article 371, those who want it, let them take it,” Kamal said. “They are talking about a third front, let them go with it, National Conference will not change its position.”

Kamal said Article 370 was scrapped to end the Muslim-majority character of Jammu & Kashmir and to pave the way for “demographic change”.

He said his party is preparing the ground for moving a motion against the Centre’s “unilateral decision” and is hopeful the Supreme Court will declare the move on Article 370 as unconstitutional.

“We have faith in Supreme Court,” the NC leader said. “It is a fact that Article 370 was revoked without taking the approval of the J&K Assembly.”

He said they were taken aback by the removal of Article 370 because both the Governor and the Prime Minister had denied that the article was being revoked.

“Our leaders met with (then) Governor Satya Pal Malik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and both denied the Article was being revoked,” he said.

He said international pressure is mounting on India over Kashmir and the present situation cannot continue forever.

He said the National Conference will keep on pressing for an agreement between India and Pakistan for a resolution of Kashmir.

He said he is in touch with Farooq Abdullah and said he won’t make any “compromise”.

“Farooq Abdullah has always stuck to his principles, why would he change his stand now?” Kamal said.

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Lok Sabha burns midnight oil to pass Citizenship Amendment Bill

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Amit Shah

New Delhi, Dec 10 : The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, which seeks to give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday midnight though it was vehemently opposed by the major opposition parties which described it as “anti-Muslim”.

However, the government rejected the opposition’s claims, saying the Bill does not affect the Muslim community residing in the country.

The draft legislation was passed after division of votes with 311 in its favour and 80 against it, following a marathon debate which continued till 12.06 a.m. on Tuesday after beginning at about 4 p.m. on Monday. A total of 48 Parliamentarians took part in the debate.

The Bill would now be moved in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday to cross its final hurdle before becoming a law to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The Treasury benches called it a historical Bill while the opposition dubbed the move as one to “kill secularism and Constitution of India” and “another attempt of partition” in the country in the name of religion and “violation of Article 14 of the Constitution”.

Major opposition parties, including Congress, Trinamool Congress, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK), All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), AIUDF, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party and YSR Congress Party opposed the Bill citing various articles of the Constitution.

In his concluding reply, Union Home Minister Amit Shah rejected the allegations of opposition members, saying the Bill is a move to “end the atrocities against crores of migrants”.

“I assure that the Bill does not violate any article of the Constitution and that no citizen will be deprived of one’s rights. An attempt is being made to keep the Bill in bad light.”

“Every citizen has been given a place in the Bill on the basis of reasonable
classification,” he added.

Shah said the Bill seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The Home Minister said that the Bill has been taken after analysing the Constitutions of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Referring to the Nehru-Liaquat Ali Khan agreement signed in 1950 after the Partition of India, Shah said it was agreed to protect the rights of minorities, but only India followed it. Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists faced atrocities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, he said.

Shah clarified that the Muslim community was not persecuted in the three Islamic countries, and the Bill specifically mentions to provide citizenship to six religious persecuted minorities.

“The people of the six minority communities who migrated to India following religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be given Indian citizenship as per this Bill. They are being given citizenship on the basis of reasonable classification. The Bill does not violate Article 14 of the Indian Constitution,” Shah said.

He also said the Bill is not against the Muslim community and that if any Muslim seeks citizenship in India based on rules, he will be entertained as per the Article of the Bill.

“The Bill does not affect the Muslims residing in this country. The Muslims residing here will not face any problem. They live with dignity and will live with the same dignity,” Shah said.

He declared that Manipur would be brought under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime and with that the problems of all the northeastern states would be taken care of as mentioned in the Citizenship Bill.

He said that Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, leaving few parts, are ILP protected.

The Home Minister reassured that no provision of Article 371 would be violated by this Bill and the Article will never be touched.

The linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of the northeast would be preserved and this Bill contains the solution to the problems of the people of these states, as the provisions of the amendment have been incorporated after marathon deliberations with various stakeholders from the northeast for the last one month.

Shah said the provisions of the amendments to the Citizenship Act, 1955, which was enacted to provide for the acquisition and determination of Indian citizenship, would not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under “The Inner Line” notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

The Bill, he said, also seeks to amend the Third Schedule to the Act to make applicants belonging to the six minority communities from the three countries eligible for citizenship by naturalisation if they can establish their residency in India for five years instead of the existing eleven years.

Shah said the Bill no where targets India’s minority community, but illegal immigrants and Rohingyas would not be allowed to stay in the country at any cost.

The Home Minister said that there is no merit in the questions raised by members on the competence of the Parliament to discuss this Bill on the ground that it is against the basic structure and ethos of the Constitution. “I want to assure the nation that this Bill is not against any provision of the Constitution of India,” he said.

Shah also accused Congress of dividing the country on the basis of religion during Partition, saying “if the Congress had not done the Partition of the country based on religion, the government would not have brought the Citizenship Bill”.

Initiating the debate over the Bill, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari hit back at Shah for accusing the Congress for the Partition of the country on the basis of religion.

“I want to remind them that the idea of Partition on the basis of religion was first floated in 1935 in Ahmedabad by (Veer) Savarkar at a Hindu Mahasabha session, and not (by the) Congress,” he said.

Tewari said the Bill was against Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and 26 of the Constitution, and against the basic right of equality. The Bill was also against the principles of B.R. Amedkar, he added.

AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi tore a copy of the draft legislation in the Lok Sabh calling it “arbitrary in nature” and “against the Muslim community”.

“Another Partition is going to happen in the country. This Bill is against the Constitution of India and a disrespect to our freedom fighters. I tear the Bill, it is trying to divide our country,” Owaisi said.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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