Monday January 27, 2020
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Political parties can’t be under RTI act, Centre tells SC

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New Delhi: The central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that political parties were not covered under RTI as they were not public authorities and any attempt to bring them under the transparency law was fraught with dangers of misuse with “malicious intention” of thwarting their “smooth internal working”. “During the enactment of the RTI Act, it was never visualized or considered to bring the political parties within the ambit of the said (RTI) Act,” the government said in its affidavit. “If political parties are held to be political authority under the RTI Act, it would hamper their smooth internal working,” it maintained, expressing apprehension that “political rivals might file applications with malicious intentions to the CPIOs of the political parties, thereby adversely affecting their political working”.

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Describing as “erroneous” conclusion by the Central Information Commission that political parties were public authorities covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the affidavit said: “Political parties are not established or constituted by or under the constitution or any other law made by the parliament. “The government’s response came following the apex court’s July 7 notice, seeking its response as to why political parties should not be treated as a public authority for the purpose of bringing them in the ambit of the act. A bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu had issued notice on a plea by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that had sought that political parties be exposed to public scrutiny under the RTI as they play an important role in national affairs.

Besides the government, the notice was also issued to the Election Commission and national political parties including Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. ADR has sought directions to all “national and regional political parties to disclose for public scrutiny complete details of their income, expenditure, donations and funding including details of donors making donations to these political parties and their electoral trusts. “The CIC by its June 3, 2013 order had held that six nationally recognized political parties were public authorities under section 2(h) of the RTI Act. The CIC had reiterated its order on March 16 this year after these political parties did not comply with its earlier order.

(IANS)

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Congress To Use Tribal Card to Regain Power in the Country

Congress to use tribal card to improve countrywide position

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Congress Chhattisgarh
Congress will be using the tribal card to regain dominance and their plan of action will begin from Chhattisgarh. Wikimedia Commons

BY SANDEEP PAURANIK

In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.

Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.

Rahul Gandhi Congress
Former President of Congress Rahul Gandhi gave an important message while innaugrating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.

The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.

BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.

The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.

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The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country. Wikimedia Commons

Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.

“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.

Also Read- Unity in Diversity is the Strength of the Country: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)