Nothing punctures a propaganda blitz like criticism from insiders, present or past. The BJP has the mortification of such salvos from two such within the span of a week. One was from a youngster who worked on BJP’s election campaigns in several north-eastern states as part of Ram Madhav’s team, Shivam Shankar Singh; the other from a former aide of the now sidelined BJP veteran LK Advani who revived the BJP and made it a mainstream party.
The BJP would dismiss one as insignificant and immature and the other as irrelevant. It has earlier rejected criticism from its leaders like Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha with the dubious claim that they were only voicing frustration at being denied a place in government rather than respond to specific points with facts.
But the ‘voices’ do indicate a disenchantment and disillusionment that would register in the minds of many others.
In the latest instance, reported news agency PTI, Sudheendra Kulkarni, speaking at a panel discussion in Mumbai on Monday, said India needs a leader who can solve “big problems” such as the Kashmir issue and therefore he would like to see Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as the future prime minister.
Listing disputes with Pakistan and China, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “failed” to solve the big problems. He then praised Rahul Gandhi, saying he is a “leader with good heart”.
He said dialogue is the only solution to solve the long-standing dispute with Pakistan, and normalising ties with the neighbouring country is key to India becoming a great nation.
“We must state what is required for solving the problem with Pakistan. And which is why I made a suggestion that I would like to see Rahul Gandhi as future prime minister,” he said at the event organised by All India Professionals’ Congress.
The event was attended by senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, whose book ‘Spectrum Politics’ was launched there.
Kulkarni added: “(Rahul Gandhi) is young and he is idealist. He is a man with compassion. No political leader in recent times had spoken the language of love, affection and compassion.” That was to contrast Rahul Gandhi’s approach with that of the BJP under Modi and Amit Shah who follow a confrontationist, no-quarter-given, fight to the finish policy.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Sudhendra Kulkarni said Rahul Gandhi should visit neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, China and Bangladesh and emerge with ideas to solve the “big problems”.
“Like Rajiv Gandhi did when he was in the opposition… He went to Afghanistan. Similarly, Rahul ji should go to Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and emerge as a leader with new ideas on how to solve big problems that Modi ji has failed to solve,” Mr Kulkarni said.
He described himself as a “well-wisher” of the Congress and pitched for a dialogue between the party and the RSS notwithstanding their differences.
A few days earlier, Shivam Shankar had written a detailed piece with the headline “Why I Am Resigning From the BJP” in the news portal TheWire. While acknowledging some of the achievements of Modi government, he had listed a number of failures in government and the vitiating the atmosphere in the country.
The BJP-RSS leadership would do well to take note of these voices, although it is doubtful there would be any attempt to address the most important, which are also the worst, aspects.
Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal moves Women’s Reservation Bill in Rajya Sabha, says census, delimitation necessary
Congress MP Rajneeth Ranjan stated that they want rights, adding that women don’t want to be pitied.
Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal moved the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Addressing the house, the Union Law Minister noted that census and delimitation are necessary for the quota bill. He further expressed that the historic bill would bring equality to women.
The Union Law Minister underlined that through the Constitutional Amendment Bill, a section will be inserted in Article 330, Article 332 and Article 334. Through these, 1/3rd of the seats will be reserved in Lok Sabha and all State Assemblies of the country, he continued. Arjun Ram Meghwal further hailed that this bill is a major step ahead.
Initiating a debate on the Women’s Reservation Bill, BJP President J P Nadda praised Prime MInister Narendra Modi for the quota bill. He mentioned that the bill will strengthen women’s empowerment. The BJP President further expressed confidence that the Women’s Reservation Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha unanimously without any obstacles.
On the other hand, debating on the historic bill, Congress MP Rajneeth Ranjan stated that they want rights, adding that women don’t want to be pitied. Referring to the name of bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, the Congress MP remarked that the government should not bow down to them, but provide them equal rights and equal opportunities.
As far as reports are concerned, the Rajya Sabha will allocate seven and a half hours for the bill’s discussion and it is widely expected to receive approval in the Upper House. After the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will require the approval of the majority of state assemblies. Notably, the implementation of the historic bill will occur following a delimitation exercise based on census data completion. Reportedly, this is the seventh attempt to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Women Reservation Bill: Here’s a look at 20 states with 50% quota for women in panchayats, municipalities
At present, there are 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and municipalities across the country.
Taking a significant step ahead, the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the special session of the Parliament on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the Opposition to unanimously pass the bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. The Women’s Reservation bill was stuck for almost three decades.
While the Women’s Reservation Bill that seeks to provide a 33 per cent quota for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies remained stuck, around 20 states witnessed 50% reservations for women in local government bodies. As far as reports are concerned, at present, there are 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and municipalities across the country.
States like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have made provisions for 50% reservation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions in their respective State Panchayati Raj Acts.
Evidently, the move for reservation for women in local bodies dates back to 1992 and 1993, when the then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao reintroduced the Constitution Amendment Bills 72 and 73, which reserved one third (33%) of all seats and chairperson posts for women in rural and urban local bodies. The Bills were passed by both the houses. Earlier, in May 1989, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill to provide one-third reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha but failed to get passed in Rajya Sabha in September 1989.
Echoing the contribution of the aforesaid leaders in Women’s Reservation, several Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi, KC Venugopal took the credit of the bill. However, though the Women’s Reservation Bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha, the legislation will come into effect after the next delimitation exercise, which might be carried out after 2026. At present, only 14% of the members in the Indian Parliament are women.
Furthermore, it is to be noted that in 1988, the National Perspective Plan for Women recommended the provision of reservation for women at various political levels, from Panchayati Raj institutions to Parliament.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury holds Constitution of India in hand as Congress MPs enter new Parliament building | Watch
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury emphasized the importance of the old Parliament building.
Leader of Opposition in the Parliament Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury held the Constitution of India in hand as Congress MPs including Rahul Gandhi, Gaurav Gogoi entered into the new Parliament building, designated as Parliament House of India. Following the programme at Central Hall on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other MPs moved towards the new Parliament building.
Earlier, addressing at the Central Hall, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury emphasized the importance of the old Parliament building. He expressed that he feels elevated and elated for standing in the podium that has witnessed a caravan of historical episodes and events in the midst of the galaxy of luminaries who had racked up their brains and burned the midnight oil to frame the Constitution of India.
In addition, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also questioned the timeframe that the Centre has set for the nation to turn into a developed nation. He asked why India cannot become a developed country before 2047. He also called for sustainable solutions and measures to resolve the nation’s issues.
Meanwhile, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge recalled Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech, and thanked the Prime Minister for remembering it during his opening speech on Monday. Speaking at the Central Hall, the Congress President said working together is the only way to build the country. He also remembered the contributions made by Rajendra Prasad, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, BR Ambedkar, GV Malvankar, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan among others.
The parliamentary proceeding will now shift from the old building to the state-of-the-art new facility. Notably, the historic shift takes place on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. On the first day of the Parliament Special Session, all members of the Parliament gathered at the old Parliament building to recall their experiences there. PM Modi also paid tribute to every brick of the old Parliament building, mentioning that it would inspire the coming generations.