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Ruckus in Lok Sabha over Rajnath’s purported Modi ‘Hindu ruler’ remark

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New Delhi: A purported comment by Home Minister Rajnath Singh that India had got “a Hindu ruler after 800 years” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered turmoil in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

As the opposition and treasury benches debated over “intolerance”, the house was adjourned thrice after CPI-M leader Mohammed Salim quoted Singh as making the statement to a magazine. The minister denied it.

Salim, who initiated the discussion, cited the minister as saying that India got “a Hindu ruler after 800 years in Narendra Modi”.

The standoff could be resolved only after Salim’s comments, contested strongly by the ruling National Democratic Alliance, were expunged from the house proceedings.

The minister said he was deeply hurt by the claim.

“I have never been so much hurt in my parliamentary life. If a home minister makes such comments, he has no right to be in his post,” he said, adding that MPs and even minorities know he can’t make such remarks.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy asked Salim to withdraw the comments till their authenticity was ascertained.

Rudy said it would be difficult for members on the treasury benches to sit in the house after allegations “which are dangerous for the country”.

Biju Janata Dal’s Bhartruhari Mahtab said a member has to give prior notice before levelling allegations against another member.

Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress, however, said there was no denial from the minister after the magazine carried the purported comment.

Salim later said his intention was not to hurt the minister. Rudy pressed the Marxist MP to withdraw his words.

As the impasse continued, the speaker adjourned the house for an hour. When it reassembled, Rudy again asked the Communist Party of India-Marxist member to withdraw his remarks.

Salim refused. “This is also intolerance. This is ridiculous,” he said.

As the standoff persisted, Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai briefly adjourned the house.

When the house reassembled after its second adjournment, Congress member M Veerappa Moily said since both Salim and Rajnath Singh had spoken, the matter should be put to rest.

But the stalemate persisted and the house was adjourned till 3.15 p.m.

When the house met at 3.15 p.m., Salim said he would have been happy if Rajnath Singh had become the prime minister instead of Modi.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu objected to this comment and said such comments can also be made about CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh asserted that the government did not believe or agree that there was growing intolerance in the country.

But he said the government would seek suggestions from MPs who say so.

“We would like to have suggestions on how to stop it, from members who think intolerance is growing,” he said.

Interestingly, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, before the discussion could start, urged members not to show their intolerance in the house and listen to the views of other members with patience.

Mahajan said MPs provide leadership to people and hoped the discussion will go in the right direction.

(IANS)

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Government Introduces Quota Bill For Upper Castes in Lok Sabha

The government decision has been described by the opposition as another "election gimmick" to garner votes

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The government on Tuesday introduced a Constitution amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha that seeks to provide 10 per cent reservation for economically backward sections in the general category in government jobs and higher educational institutions.

The introduction of the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot was a smooth affair in the House with no member raising any objection.

The Bill, cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday with an eye on the upper castes vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, seeks to amend Articles 15 and 16 under whose present provisions the benefits of the existing reservations are generally not available for the economically weaker sections of the forward castes.

The statement of objects and reasons appended to the Bill said that the economically weaker sections of citizens have largely remained excluded from attending the higher educational institutions and public employment on account of their financial incapacity to compete with those persons who are economically more privileged.

The benefits of existing reservations under clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15 and clause (4) of Article 16 are generally unavailable to them unless they meet the specific criteria of social and educational backwardness, it said.

The directive principles of State policy contained in Article 46 of the Constitution enjoins that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Quota Bill for upper castes introduced in Lok Sabha.

Under the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, 2005, clause (5) was inserted in Article 15 of the Constitution which enables the State to make special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, in relation to their admission in higher educational institutions.

Similarly, clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution enables the State to make special provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

However, the statement of the objects and reasons said the economically weaker sections of citizens were not eligible for the benefit of reservation.

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“With a view to fulfil the mandate of Article 46, and to ensure that economically weaker sections of citizens to get a fair chance of receiving higher education and participation in employment in the services of the State, it has been decided to amend the Constitution of India,” it said.

Accordingly, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for reservation for the economically weaker sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private institutions aided or unaided by the State other than the minority educational institutions referred to in article 30 of the constitution and also provides for reservation for them in posts in initial appointment in services under the State, the government said in a statement.

The government decision has been described by the opposition as another “election gimmick” to garner votes. (IANS)