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Sitamarhi: The Place where Maa Sita descended into Mother Earth

Sitamarhi has been pointed as a significant Hindu religious site

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According to Ramayana, Sitamarhi (also known as Sita Samahit Sthal) is a sacred place where sita, the main character of Ramayana, entered the Earth. This holy place was carved out of Muzaffarpur district and became a separate district on December 11, 1972. It is situated in Tirhut district located in the northern part of the Bihar, and is in close vicinity of the Nepal border. The place is near the bank of river Ganga and just besides national highway No. 2. The major roads connecting the district are NH 77 and NH 104. The district headquarters is located in Dumra, five kilometers south of Sitamarhi.

Mythological importance of Sitamarhi

  • According to legends, the temple in Sitamarhi is the place where Sita Maa went into Earth willingly after Lord Rama asked her to perform another Agni-Pariksha for living in the ashram of Valmiki Rishi in the forests of Sitamarhi.
  • Punaura Dham, near Sitamarhi, is the place where Sita was born when Raja Janak was ploughing the field for impressing Indra Deva to rain as the state was facing drought. The plough struck an earthern pot and Sita came out of it.
  • After more than 500 years, a Hindu ascetic named Birbal Das got to know about the mythological history of the place and built a temple over there, the Janaki Temple.
Raja Janak ploughing the field Image: Wikimedia Commons
Raja Janak ploughing the field Image: Wikimedia Commons

Sitamarhi District

  • The district is often bereaved by many natural calamities, including excess flooding because of mis-management of the river banks by both civilians and government officials. The town had suffered lot of destruction during Nepal-Bihar earthquake in 1934.
  • In the past, Sitamarhi has also witnessed communal violence led by local politicians and now forms a part of the Red Corridor of eastern India which experiences extensive Naxalite communist insurgency. But currently both the leading communities here are in a good affinity and the district has produced many political leaders like Ram Dulari Sinha (Former Union Minister) and Thakur Jugal Kishore Sinha (Former MP & Freedom Fighter).

Related Article: Eleven countries where Ramayana enactment tradition is thriving

  • The place was also visited by Swami Jitendranath Tirth and he had a desire to build a splendid memorial of Maa Sita. The Sita Samahit temple was built with the help of Satya Narain Prakash Punj, promoter of Punj Lloyd Limited, New Delhi and it stands exactly on the mount where Sita Ji is believed to be descended into Earth. There is also the tomb of Hajrat Daata Shah Rahmatullah Alaihe in Harpurwa village of Sitamarhi district.
  • According to a survey, the place has been pointed as a great Hindu religious site. The holiness of the place could be evaluated from the fact that the entire landscape of Sitamarhi is spotted with various temples, co-related to various mythological stories of Ramayana. It is the spiritual centre for many sages and saints and is being visited by a number of pilgrims with deep faith and devotion.
  • Apart from its recognition as Religious destination, the place also holds other allures that make one’s trip more enjoyable. The place has synchronised the ethnicity, heritage and mythology beautifully and in a proud manner.

Complied by Pashchiema Bhatia. Twitter: @pashchiema5

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Come April, government will be more comfortable in Rajya Sabha

Of the 100 BJP-allies MPs, 24 are retiring. Which means, the government will be left with 76 MPs

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Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
  • In April, the opposition may lose its edge over BJP in Rajya Sabha
  • NDA led by Modi has faced many embarrassments in Rajya Sabha in past few years
  • This is expected to change soon

Come April, the opposition in the Rajya Sabha may lose its edge in the numbers game and the power to stall any government bill, as the ruling BJP-led NDA coalition is set to catch up with its rivals, though a clear majority will elude them for a while more.

BJP to soon get more comfortable in  Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia commons
BJP to soon get more comfortable in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons

As 58 MPs, including three Nominated and one Independent, are set to retire in April, the Rajya Sabha math is going to change. It is set to favour the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the trend may continue in the elections to the Upper House later too with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having solid majorities in a number of state assemblies, especially the ones it won after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

With this, while the Congress-led opposition’s numbers will come down to around 115 from the present 123, the numbers of the BJP, its allies and sympathisers together would climb to around 109 from the present 100-odd members.

And the gap, once wide enough to let the opposition invariably have its say, will keep narrowing further in the coming months.

Of the 55 retiring members (excluding those Nominated), 30 belong to the opposition camp while 24 belong to the BJP and allies. Of them, a large number of NDA candidates are set to return while the opposition will lose a chunk of its members.

As things stand now, the Congress-led opposition has 123 MPs (including 54 of the Congress) in a house of 233 elected members (apart from 12 Nominated), while the NDA has 83 members (including 58 of BJP) plus four Independents who support the BJP (these include MPs Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Subhash Chandra, Sanjay Dattatraya Kakade and Amar Singh).

Rajya Sabha or the Upper House can often be a game changer while passing of the bills is in process.
Rajya Sabha or the Upper House can often be a game changer while passing of the bills is in process.

Also, for all practical purposes, the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), that has 13 members in the Rajya Sabha, is also with the NDA. This means the NDA’s effective strength in the upper house of Parliament is 100.

The gap was wider till just a few months ago. This meant that during any battle between the government and the opposition in the Upper House over bills and major issues, it was the opposition that invariably had its way. The recent example was the triple talaq legislation that the opposition stalled in the upper house, demanding that it be referred to a Select Committee.

For over less than four years, the Narendra Modi government had faced quite a few embarrassments in the Rajya Sabha thanks to the majority of the opposition, forcing it often to take the money bill route to avoid a clash in the house. Under the Constitution, a money bill needs to be passed only in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cannot stall it.

Also Read: For Modi, Road To 2019 Will Be Steeper

However, after April, the NDA will be in a far better position.

Of the 100 BJP-allies MPs, 24 are retiring. Which means, the government will be left with 76 MPs (including AIADMK). But at least 30 from the NDA are set to get re-elected. So the number will rise to 106. Add three members that the government would nominate to the upper house and the final NDA tally will roughly be 109 MPs.

Further, there are fence-sitters such as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the YSR Congress, which are not virulently against the BJP and would not oppose the government unless for very compelling reasons.

Now, for the Congress and the rest of the opposition, they are set to lose 30 MPs (including one Independent, A.V. Swamy) through retirement and would be left with around 93 members. The Opposition may win roughly 22 seats, which means that its final tally after April is likely to be around 115 members.

Government can now expect some smooth sailing in the Rajya Sabha, coming this April.
Government can now expect some smooth sailing in the Rajya Sabha, coming this April.

The gap has clearly narrowed and the government may not be at the mercy of the opposition during crucial votes and can have its way in the Rajya Sabha if it musters its numbers by deftly wooing “floater” MPs.

The three newly-elected Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members may remain equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress, though the party is friendly with some of the major opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress.

Also Read: BJP MP Seeks Amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill

In an interesting development recently, the AAP actively participated in the opposition’s walkout and the day-long boycott of the Rajya Sabha over long intra-day adjournments of the Upper House by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu.

The AAP, which was not welcome at any opposition meetings earlier, particularly those held in Parliament House, was invited to speak at a joint opposition media interaction on the day. But nobody can be sure as to how long this bonding would last.

Partywise tally of those retiring in April-May from the opposition’s side include 13 from the Congress, six from the Samajwadi Party, three of the Trinamool Congress, two each of the Nationalist Congress Party and Biju Janata Dal and one each of the CPI-M, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.

NDA has to face many embarrassments in past few years in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons
NDA has to face many embarrassments in past few years in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons

From the ruling side, 17 MPs of the BJP, three of the Janata Dal United, one of the Shiv Sena and two of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are retiring.

In terms of state-wise vacancies to be created in April, the highest number is from Uttar Prdaesh (9), followed by Maharashtra (6), Madhya Pradesh (5), Bihar (5), Gujarat (4), Karnataka (4), West Bengal (4), Rajasthan (3), Odisha (3), Andhra Pradesh (3), Telangana (2), Uttarakhand (1), Himachal Pradesh (1) and Chhattisgarh (1). IANS