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Centre moves Supreme Court for transfer of land near Ayodhya disputed site for access to it

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In a move that would help BJP enthuse its core Hindutva voters for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi government today (Tuesday, Jan 29) moved the Supreme Court to allow it to return 67-acre acquired land around the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site to the original owners, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.

The Centre said it had acquired 67 acres of land around the 2.77 acre disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas is a trust founded by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to promote and oversee the construction of the Ram temple.

The Centre said that the excess land will be used to provide ingress and exit paths to the disputed site. It said that it doesn’t want that whosoever wins the title suit is impeded of entry and exit (to the disputed site) because of lack of release of the said land.

The move comes while BJP’s Sangh parivar affiliates mount pressure Supreme Court and the government to decide in favour of building Ram temple at Ayodhya. In what would perhaps be a brazen case of contempt of court, RSS leader Indresh Kumar went to the extent of accusing ‘two-three judges’ of stalling a decision on Ayodhya case and calling for a ‘halla bol’ at their houses.

Surprisingly, there was not a squeak from any section about this, and the Supreme Court chose to ignore it. Rather, the Union Law Minister joined the clamour in telling the Supreme Court to decide expeditiously in favour of Ram temple.

The Supreme Court is still to decide when it would start hearing the Ayodhya title dispute case – the petitions challenging the Allahabad high court verdict of 2010 that had ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre area at Ayodhya among the parties: the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Lord Ram Lalla.

The Supreme Court’s proposed sitting today to decide on it was put off earlier on Sunday due to unavailability of one of the judges on the bench designated to hear the case: Justice SA Bobde, was not available for medical reasons.

Now the Modi government has asked the Supreme Court to dilute its earlier order which had said that the Centre must maintain status quo on the 67.7 acres of land it had acquired at the site back in 1993.

The Centre wants the court to allow transfer of a major chunk of the land – except the 0.313 acres on which the Babri Masjid stood – to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, one of the parties in the title suit which is leading the campaign for construction of the Ram Mandir.

The Modi government has said that the original landowners, which included 42 acre of acquired land of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, were “entitled” to get their land back and the Centre is “duty bound” to return to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and other owners the land adjacent to the disputed site in Ayodhya.

“It is respectfully submitted that the acquisition took place in the year 1993 and 25 years have passed, the original landowners whose land, which were not in dispute but were still acquired, are entitled to get it back and the Central government is duty bound to restore/revert/hand over the same land,” reads the Centre’s application that was filed with the apex court registry, on Monday (January 28).

The prayer in the application reads: “Permit the Central government to restore/revert/hand over back superfluous/excess vacant land (other than the disputed land measuring 0.313 acres) to the owners/occupiers from whom the respective lands were acquired under the Act of 1993”. It may be recalled that the 67.7 acres of land at the Babri Masjid site and its vicinity was acquired by the Centre in 1993 through the controversial Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act.

“The Hon’ble Court be pleased to modify the order dated 31.3.2003 passed in the captioned matter so as to enable the central government to determine the exact extent of land required from out of the superfluous/excess land to ensure that successful party in the dispute pending regarding the ‘disputed land’ can have proper access to and enjoyment of rights in the disputed land. This applicant undertakes that each and every concern expressed by this Hon’ble Court in Ismail Faruqui (supra) and other judgments referred to above will be scrupulously taken care of,” the application states further.

The application by the Centre comes at a time when the ruling BJP’s parent organization – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its ideological allies like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have been demanding that the Modi government by pass the legal proceedings in the pending Ayodhya title suit and bring in an ordinance to enable construction of the Ram Mandir at the disputed site.

Though Prime Minister Modi had, in a recent interview, claimed that his government would wait for a resolution of the dispute by the Supreme Court before taking any steps that allow construction of the Ram Mandir, his colleagues in the government do not seem to share the same view.

The application comes days after Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad nearly commanded the Supreme Court to rule favourably for construction of the Ram Mandir. Stating that the court must begin proceedings in the title suit without delay, Prasad had said: “The Ayodhya case has been pending for the last 70 years. The Allahabad High Court order was in favour of the temple (in 2010), but then it is on hold in the Supreme Court now. This matter should be cleared soon.”

The law minister’s comment came close on the heels of the hearing in the case by a Constitution Bench being delayed once again due to the “non availability” of Justice SA Bobde, one of the judges on the five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi which was to begin proceedings in the case on January 29.

If the Supreme Court grants the Centre’s request and the Modi government hands over at least 42 acres of the 67.7 acres of acquired land to its original owners – the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, the preliminary groundwork for construction of the Ram Mandir may commence before the Lok Sabha polls begin in April-May.

At a time when it has failed to fulfil its promises on development front, this would be another ‘major’ instance after the Sardar Patel statue where the Modi government has been successful.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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6 Congress MLAs who cross-voted for BJP in Rajya Sabha election disqualified from Himachal assembly

Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania announced 6 MLAs, who contested on Congress symbol, attracted provisions of the anti defection law against themselves. He declared that 6 people cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect.

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6 Congress MLAs who cross-voted for BJP in the Rajya Sabha election were disqualified by the speaker from the Himachal assembly on Thursday. The members have been disqualified under the anti-defection law. Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania announced 6 MLAs, who contested on Congress symbol, attracted provisions of the anti defection law against themselves. He declared that 6 people cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect.

The Congress government has managed to contain the political crisis that rose due to cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections and the revolt by a minister. Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu passed the budget on Wednesday, and Minister Vikramaditya Singh said he will not press for resignation until talks with leaders conclude.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi was defeated by BJP’s Harsh Mahajan through a draw of, after the two candidates won 34 votes each in the fight for the lone Rajya Sabha seat following cross-voting by the  6 MLAs. According to reports the Congress and 3 independent MLAs are reportedly camping at a guest house in Panchkula, located in BJP-run Haryana, after voting against the Congress candidate. They attended the assembly session on Wednesday.

Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Wednesday expelled 15 BJP MLAs, including leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur, for misconduct and allegedly shouting slogans in the Chamber of the Speaker. Chief Minister Sukhu dismissed speculation that he was resigning. He said neither the high command, nor anyone else has asked him for resignation and added the Congress government will complete its 5-year term in the state.

Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, who had announced his resignation as a minister, on Wednesday evening said he wouldn’t press his resignation until a dialogue with party leaders was not completed. He, after meeting party central observers said the government was never in a crisis.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates multiple infrastructure projects worth Rs 4900 crore in Yavatmal, Maharashtra

The instalment amount of over Rs 21000 crore under the PM-KISAN was released through direct benefits transfer to beneficiaries. A press release said with this release, an amount of more than 3 lakh crore, has been transferred to more than 11crore farmers’ families.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated and dedicated to the country multiple infrastructure projects worth more than Rs 4900 crore in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. He also released benefits under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) and other schemes during the programme.

The instalment amount of over Rs 21000 crore under the PM-KISAN was released through direct benefits transfer to beneficiaries. A press release said with this release, an amount of more than 3 lakh crore, has been transferred to more than 11crore farmers’ families.

The Prime Minister also disburse 2nd and 3rd instalments of Namo Shetkari MahaSanman Nidhi, worth about Rs 3,800 crore. The scheme provides an additional amount of Rs 6000 per year to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri  Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana in Maharashtra.

The press release said Rs 825 crore of Revolving Fund was released for 5.5 lakh women Self Help Groups (SHGs) across Maharashtra. This amount is additional to the Revolving fund provided by the government of India under National Rural livelihood Mission (NRLM).

The prime minister also distributed 1 crore Ayushman cards and launched the Modi Awaas Gharkul Yojana for the OBC. Rail projects launched by PM Modi included New Ashti Amalner broads gauge line (part of Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli new broad gauge line project) and Wardha-Kalamb broad gauge line (part of Wardha-Yavatmal-Nanded new broad gauge line project).

The Prime Minister to virtually flagged off two train service during the programme. This included train services connecting Kalamb and Wardha; and train service connecting Amalner and New Ashti. The new train service will help improve connectivity and benefit students, traders and daily commuters of the region.

Addressing the people of Yavatmal, the prime minister said he bowed down to the land of Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj. He said he also bowed down to Baba Saheb Ambedkar. He said he had received their blessings when he had come for Chai pe Charcha 10 years ago.

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Himachal Pradesh Congress crisis: BJP wants to crush people’s mandate, says Priyanka Gandhi

She explained that if a party with 25 MLAs is challenging the majority of 43 MLAs, then it clearly means that it is dependent on horse-trading of representatives.

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Amid Congress crisis in Himachal Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took a sharp jibe at the BJP, saying that the party wants to crush people’s mandate by misusing money, power, and central agencies. The Congress’s general secretary further claimed that the BJP is trying to push the state towards a political disaster.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, she wrote that in democracy, the general public has the right to choose the government of their choice. She added that the people of Himachal used the right and formed the Congress government with a clear majority. However, BJP wants to crush this right of the people of Himachal by misusing the money power, power of agencies and power of the Centre, she continued. Priyanka Gandhi further stated that the way BJP is using government security and machinery for this purpose is unprecedented in the history of the country.

She further asserted that the BJP totally depends on horse-trading of representatives to grab power. She explained that if a party with 25 MLAs is challenging the majority of 43 MLAs, then it clearly means that it is dependent on horse-trading of representatives. This attitude of theirs is unethical and unconstitutional, she continued. Priyanka Gandhi further recalled that the BJP, which did not stand with the people of the state during the natural disaster, now wants to push the state into political disaster. 

Her remarks came hours after the BJP claimed that Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led Himachal government is in the minority after the former won the state’s lone Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan defeating Congress stalwart Singhvi, despite the latter being in the majority. Reportedly, both the Congress and the BJP candidates got 34 votes, indicating that at least six Congress MLAs voted against the party.

Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker today suspended 15 MLAs for allegedly disturbing the proceedings. Reportedly, in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 40 MLAs while the BJP has 25 legislators and the remaining three seats are held by independents.

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