Thursday October 19, 2017
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Opposition ready to set winter session agendas

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New Delhi: With political majors including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and CPM upping the ante, the issue of ‘intolerance’ is expected to be one of the major concern to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament which starts on November 26.

The political parties are relentlessly pressing for a dialogue on the issue.

Moreover, with the West Bengal assembly elections approaching early next year, Trinamool Congress is all geared up to question the government’s ‘ache din’ propaganda. They have already submitted a notice to Rajya Sabha asking for a discussion under Rule 167 on the ‘unity in diversity’ theme.

This discussion is expected to encompass the issue of intolerance prevailing in India.”We will ask all other opposition parties to join us on the issue,” said MP Derek O’Brien told reporters.

“Unity in diversity and operational federalism are two key issues that need to be discussed threadbare in Parliament,” he added.

Under the Rule 176, CPM has also submitted a notice asking for a short period discussion. As both CPM and TMC are rival parties they would not want to be seen under the same umbrella. This has led to two different notices being submitted by the parties on the same issue.

“Our tactics will be decided on the floor of the House, but our strategy is clear,” said O’Brienin in the interview.

46 MP’s of TMC have been directed by Chief Mamata Banerjee to participate in debates to showcase their ideas rather than disrupting businesses. Although TMC does not rule out the prospects of partaking in walkouts and disruption by others.

The discussion is expected to comprise of debates over operational federalism apart from Unity in diversity as it is speculated to hit out at the Centre for meddling in states’ affairs, which can be a potential attempt for other parties to join in.

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‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’ Witnesses escalating BJP-Left Confrontation

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Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Wikimedia

Hurling anti-left maneuver during Janaraksha Yatra Kerala, Indian BJP National President Amit Shah launched serious allegation against the ruling CPM government for triggering political violence and imputed to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan the culpability for the mass killings of party workers in the state.

The BJP Chief traced back the origin of violence-centric politics in ”God’s Own Country” to the inception of the Communist regime. “Left always paralyses the state it rules. West Bengal and Tripura witnessed similar political vehemence under the CPM government”, elucidated the President.

Criticizing the Human Rights Activists of the nation, Amit Shah pointed out that they are very selective when it comes to what they support. “You turn your eyes away when our workers die. Why is there no march in Delhi? Violence has no color. More than 120 workers of the BJP have succumbed due to political violence so far. What was their fault? They were working for the betterment of Kerala”, complained the BJP Chief.

Acclaiming BJP’s ideology enthusiastically, Shah called upon the people to join as workers. Addressing the gathering at ‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’, the President added that family members of the deceased have stood by the BJP and he wouldn’t let the martyrdom of the workers go waste.

Amit Shah inaugurated the ‘Janaraksha Yatra Kerala’ at Payyannur to protest against alleged killings of party workers. The “padayatra” was led by the party’s State President Kummanam Rajashekhharan.

The National President of BJP attributed the diminishing power of the CPM to their increasing reliance on political violence. Apart from CPM, the once dominating Congress is also losing momentum thereby giving BJP the opportunity to flourish with their ideology. “More the mud of violence, more the lotus will bloom” added Shah.

The BJP Chief assured his party workers and volunteers that BJP would fight the war with CPM until emerging victorious. Shah declared, “We must all unite against the rule of the Left Government.”

Shortly after the launching of the yatra, three BJP workers adorning the National Highway 66 were ambushed by anonymous men on Monday. During his address, Shah alleged that the assailants were CPM cadres who have also destroyed BJP flags in the area.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is ready to augment the saffron stand with his visit to Kerala on Wednesday. As per the report of Times Now, Adityanath will basically be in the Muslim-dominated district of Mallapuram.

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Left parties in India are facing an identity crisis

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Photo: Wikipedia

By Amitava Mukherjee

On the eve of elections to five state assemblies including Kerala and West Bengal, the Left parties are now in an identity crisis and have subjected themselves to two opposing pulls from within on the question of an alliance with the Congress.

In a recent article published in a mass-circulation daily, Prakash Karat, the former CPI-M general secretary, has honestly pointed out the self-contradictions that have hamstrung the communist movement of India from its inception. That the Left has now been clamouring for an alliance with the Congress is an outcome of such in-built deficiencies.

At this point, recourse to classical theories will serve the Left no purpose. Theoretically, communist parties are meant for factory workers but very few leading lights of the Indian communist movement can fit in this category. It is interesting to guess why Prakash Karat chose to do such a scathing introspection at this moment. Is it an attempt on his part to keep himself away from the hullabaloo and the shrill cries for an alliance with the Congress that some leaders of his party are raising?

In the annals of communist literature, this Karat article is exceptional. He has listed metamorphosis of the middle class leading to its inability to relate to Left ideology any more and absence of workers, poor peasants and agricultural labourers in decision making positions as the main detriments in front of his party’s expansion and wide acceptance among the masses.

This deficiency is true not just about the CPI-M. All shades of Indian communist parties are affected by it. However, Karat’s argument has also exposed his limitations. He still has great faith in the middle class. If this faith continues, the future of his party is bleak.

But Karat himself and almost the entire front-ranking leadership of his party are results of this system and it’s unfortunate that the realization about the position of the lower strata of society dawned on him after so many years – most of all after the serious drubbing that his party received from the people of West Bengal in the last assembly elections.

Instead of writing articles in newspapers, if he looks at the composition of his own party’s politburo he will realize that the job of cleansing the Augean Stables must start from the highest policy-making body of his own party.

This incomplete identification with the country’s toiling masses is now finding its manifestation among certain sections of the Left in a mad rush for an electoral alliance with the Congress which had, in fact, ushered in neo-liberal economic policies, a school of thought and practice the Left regards as an anathema.

Although some sections of the media are trying to drum up support for such an alliance, yet the CPI-M stands vertically divided over the issue with the Kerala unit being totally opposed to such an eventuality. Some constituents of the Left Front in West Bengal like the CPI and the Forward Bloc, have also expressed their reservations as they identify the Congress with a neo liberal economy.

It is really open to question whether a Left Front-Congress alliance in West Bengal will be able to deliver the desired result. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the Trinamul Congress had got 39.3 percent of the votes, the Left Front 29.6 percent, the Congress 9.6 percent and the BJP 16.8 percent. The CPI-M’s calculation is that by dint of an alliance with the Congress, it will be able to match the voting percentage of the TMC and thus outsmart Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. But there is a serious flaw in this calculation.

Unfortunately for the Congress, the party has very little presence in today’s West Bengal, except in Murshidabad, Malda and South Dinajpur districts, where the party commands more than 30 percent of the votes. But in the remaining 17 districts, the Congress only enjoys around five percent of the votes per district. Will this be of any help to the Left Front in defeating the TMC? The big question remains here.

But an alliance with the Congress in West Bengal is sure to put the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala in an embarrassing situation. The LDF is now comfortably placed against the Congress-led United Democratic Front(UDF) so far as the coming election is concerned. That is the reason why not only Karat but the entire Kerala lobby of the CPI-M is uncomfortable about any alliance with the Congress as this will rob the Left of the much needed sharp edge in its campaign against the UDF.

By an alliance with the Congress, Left is certain to lose credibility. In his article, Karat castigated neo-liberal economic policies and “family enterprise” like political parties. Congress leaders may vehemently deny the charges, but both the indicators can point towards that party. It will be interesting to watch what answer the CPI-M proffers in the event of an alliance with the Congress.

In its nearly five-year rule in West Bengal, the TMC has not been able to give much good account of itself. If the Kerala model of removal of each ruling combination every five years has any justification, then replacement of the TMC-led dispensation in the next West Bengal assembly election is not undesirable. But any Left Front-Congress combination will be too opportunist in character to achieve anything good.

(IANS)

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Learn from ‘intolerance’ in Pakistan: Rahul to Modi

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New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi launched a ferocious attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in Lok Sabha over the “growing intolerance” in the country.

The Gandhi scion asked the government to learn a lesson or two from Pakistan where people do not enjoy the freedom of speech, calling it their biggest flaw. He said India in the past few months has been looking like a mirror image of the Islamic Republic and that there was a need for introspection and course correction from our side.

Gandhi said that PM talked about how people who made India’s constitution inspired him as they had all the answers to the issues of India.

“But they inspired me because they allowed people to question them. They heard people’s voices,” Gandhi said.

He urged the PM to listen to people, alleging that “in today’s India, staging a protest means attracting the charge of sedition.”

Rahul also targeted BJP Minister VK Singh over his controversial ‘dog remark’. He referred to the Indian Constitution and reading the fundamental right from article 14 and 15 said that all citizens should be treated equally irrespective of their religion, caste, color or class.

Gandhi said VK Singh swore an oath as a minister, an MP and before that as a soldier, yet he allegedly compared the Dalit kids with dogs.

“How could PM Modi allow VK Singh to continue as a minister in the government despite his unfortunate remarks?” the Congress vice-president asked.

He further added that while Government talks of skill India but it does not listen to the grievances of FTII students, who are very skillful. Rahul said that he visited them and all they wanted was the government to listen to their problems, but that their movement was crushed.

The Congress VP continued his attack by saying that a Muslim man was killed in cold blood and the person who was supposed to provide him security, remained silent.

Rahul said that India’s strength was that it had embraced its people. This was the reason why India was successful.

PM Modi also gave a powerful speech in the Rajya Sabha saying that while there were many excuses for the political parties to be divided, but they should remain united for public welfare. He also said there was no need for anyone to prove their patriotism all the time.

BJP directed its lawmakers to avoid making any controversial statements and give the opposition any chance to hit the government.