Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today (Monday, Feb 11) began a day-long fast demanding that the Centre grant special status to the state and fulfil promises made before its bifurcation in 2014.
Naidu paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat before heading to Andhra Pradesh Bhavan to observe the fast. A TDP delegation led by Naidu will submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday, said media reports.
Naidu’s fast also became an occasion for a show of Opposition unity with a number of party leaders turning up to extend their support to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief, said media reports. Congress President Rahul Gandhi arrived at N Chandrababu Naidu‘s one-day hunger strike against the Centre over special category status to Andhra Pradesh. National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and NCP’s Majeed Memon are also present at the venue. Former Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien were also among those present.
“I stand with the people of Andhra Pradesh. What kind of a PM is he? He did not fulfill the commitment made to the people of Andhra Pradesh. Mr Modi tells a lie wherever he goes. He has got no credibility left,” said Rahul Gandhi.
Accusing accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “facilitating loot”, Rahul Gandhi said, “Every defence deal has an anti-corruption clause. The Hindu has reported that the PM removed the anti-corruption clause. It is clear that the PM facilitated loot.”
The report in The Hindu stated that the PMO had waived key provisions of the anti-corruption clauses days before the defence agreement was signed. Quoting The Hindu report, the Congress, on its official Twitter handle, asked: “Who was the PMO trying to shield? Who was the PMO trying to benefit?”
Manmohan Singh, extending support to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu over the demand for special category status to the state, said, “I stand in support of Naidu, special category status promise must be implemented without any further delay,” adding that “demand for special status had support of all parties when it was discussed in Parliament.”
In February 2014, during his tenure as PM, Manmohan Singh had announced in the Rajya Sabha that special category status would be extended to the successor state of Andhra Pradesh comprising 10 districts, including four districts in Rayalaseema and three districts of coastal Andhra Pradesh, for a period of five years.
“Chandrababu Naidu ji, I would like to congratulate TDP. We started this fight four years back but there is a very important date – July 20, 2018 – when TDP brought in ‘No Confidence Motion’ in Lok Sabha. This scared Modi. After that on Jan 9, 2019 SP-BSP came together. After that, what happened on Jan 19? On that day senior leaders of 22 political parties came on the same stage. Why am I mentioning these dates? Because after all of them, BJP got one new ally – CBI,” ANI quoted O’brien as saying.
Naidu has been trying to unite the opposition parties to take on the BJP in the general elections. Over the last three months, he has held a number of meetings with the opposition party leaders on forming an anti-BJP front.
In March last year, the TDP had pulled out of the NDA government over its refusal to grant a special status to Andhra Pradesh.
The party has been accusing the Narendra Modi government of not releasing enough funds for the Polavaram irrigation project, the Kadapa steel plant and Amravati, the under-construction ultra-modern state capital.
Earlier, as he began his fast, the TDP chief said the party was denied permission to stage a protest in Parliament premises. “So, we came here”.
“Today we came here all the way to protest against central government. Yesterday, PM visited Andhra Pradesh, Guntur one day before the dharna. What is the need, I am asking,” said Chandrababu Naidu.
He warned that Modi would be given a befitting answer if he made personal attacks against the people of his state. “On behalf of five crore people, I’m warning this government… I came here to remind you of the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act,” Naidu said.
“I am warning you. Don’t make personal attacks against me and my people. It’s unwarranted. I am just doing my duty as the head of my state. We are only demanding what we were promised,” he said, adding if somebody “attacks our self respect, we will not tolerate it”.
On Sunday, responding to PM Modi’s charge that Naidu was only interested in promoting his son Lokesh and not the state’s development, the TDPchief said the Prime Minister wouldn’t understand much as he didn’t even give due respect to his wife.
Stating that he was against personal attacks, but was compelled to do so, Naidu said, “Yes Lokesh is my son. …. You don’t have a family, no relations. I’m one who respects the family… wants to spend time with the family…. I am the father of Lokesh, grandfather of Devansh and husband of Bhuvaneshvari. And I’m proud of it,” Naidu said. “Does Modi have any respect for the family system? Has he ever spoken about his family?”
He then asked his audience: “Do you know he has a wife? They enacted the (instant) triple talaq law to protect women from being divorced by just the word being uttered three times. This is Yashodaben’s husband. Yes or no? He hasn’t even divorced her. He has just left her.”
Naidu said he wouldn’t have raised the issue had Modi not launched personal attacks: “I wouldn’t have spoken about this but you became personal. I have always respected women. I’m a big brother to all the women in the state.”
The chief minister was speaking at patta distribution ceremony in Vijayawada.
Modi, claiming that Naidu was always keen to portray his seniority, had said the former was his senior in defections, back-stabbing and opportunist politicking.
“Your CM often keeps saying he is quite a senior politician. Of course he is. A senior in changing colours last minute and forming alliances. Senior in back-stabbing his own father-in-law for power,” Modi told the gathering.
He also slammed the TDP chief for joining hands with the Congress, which he said was a betrayal of Naidu’s father-in-law and TDP founder, NT Rama Rao. “Naidu had said he would follow NTR’s footsteps, but is he really doing so. NTR had fought for a Congress-free India. Mukt-Congress has now become dost-Congress [friend of Congress] for Naidu.”
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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.