opposition

Sri Lanka: Protesters seek resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa amid crisis

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Amidst the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, a string of protests marked the island nation as the citizens demanded the immediate resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his inability to curb the crisis.

Sri Lankan citizens staged a protest outside the President’s house which was aggravated further when Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared all the protesters as extremists, arresting many of them, reported NUS, a flagship university.
Students, farmers, and judiciary members all joined the protest against Rajapaksa and his family and voiced the slogan of “No more Rajapaksas”. Upon the spread of the protest on social media, the regime took down the internet, infuriating the protesters even more for suppressing their democratic rights, resulting in the use of virtual private networks to access the same.

Fearing the people’s uprising, some of the family members of Rajapaksa and their financiers have even fled the country. Citizens demand Rajapaksa to step down as the President, calling for an election process to be conducted, not complying to which will lead to complete anarchy.

The flagship university NUS reported the resignation of Cabinet Ministers. But the demand from the protestors for a new leadership made the newly elected Finance Minister Ali Sabry to resign as well.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka has befallen into a dire economic crisis due to debt troubles, liquidity problems, and minimum foreign reserves leading to long power outages, and scarcity of fuel impacting manufacturing industries and the middle class. (ANI)

 

KTR dares Oppn for debate on agricultural growth in Telangana

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India] (ANI): As Rythu Bandhu scheme reached a milestone of depositing Rs 50,000 crore into the bank accounts of farmers, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader and Infomation Technology and Industries minister KT Rama Rao on Monday challenged the Opposition parties to point out any other state which brought revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector like Telangana.
The IT minister dared other state parties to specify any state which spent more than Telangana for farm loan waiver scheme. He challenged all the Opposition parties who were criticising the state government and its policies. “We have released a white paper on agriculture, unlike the Centre which brought the anti-farmer farm laws,” he said,
Adding to that, he said, the TRS government spent Rs 2.71 lakh core for agriculture and allied sectors since the state formation.
The minister said even the Opposition leaders who own farmlands were benefiting from the scheme. He stated that the TRS has no objection to political tourists visiting the state as it might help boost tourism.
Speaking further, Rao said the state government was implementing schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, lift irrigation schemes and also free uninterrupted power supply among other initiatives which fuelled the unprecedented growth of the agriculture sector in the state. (Image source: Instagram)

South African opposition allege cover-up of graft probe findings behind Parliament fire

Johannesburg [South Africa]: A South African opposition leader has implicated the ruling African National Congress in a fire at the national houses of parliament that erupted two days before the planned release of a damning report on a probe into government corruption.
A commission was set up in 2018 to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the country’s public sector. It submitted its findings to President Cyril Ramaphosa in late December and was to make a part of the report public on Tuesday. “I suspect that information in there shows government corruption… I rise to say government itself led by Ramaphosa and his ministers and people deployed there might want this information to be destroyed,” Willie Madisha, of the Congress of the People, told Sputnik.
The fire erupted early on Sunday in the oldest wing of the sprawling parliament complex in Cape Town, used by the National Council of Provinces as well as for committee meetings. A blaze was later reported in the so-called New Wing, where the lower house National Assembly sits. That fire has not been extinguished yet.
Madisha, who sits on the National Assembly, told Sputnik he was surprised by the fire given that security at the complex was very tight. But he argued that the place was prone to mishaps “whenever serious issues are raised.”
There were copies of the commission’s report locked up in the offices of certain officials in parliament. Madisha told Sputnik he was unable to access his office to retrieve the information.
The cause of the fire is not known, but the police arrested and questioned a suspect. Jermaine Carelse, a spokesperson for the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue, told Sputnik in a text message there were “no casualties.” Investigations continue.

Opposition stages walkout from Rajya Sabha accusing Chair of not listening to their points

New Delhi [India]: Opposition parties including Congress, DMK, RJD, Left, NCP, TMC, Shiv Sena, SP and BSP on Monday staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha accusing the Chair of not listening to their points terming it an “unfair” way.
Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge raised points blaming the Chair of being “unfair” towards Opposition and “condemned” it for not allowing him to speak. Kharge made the remarks soon after the House met at 5 pm after a short adjournment followed by a verbal spat between Bachchan and treasury benches.
“I am a new member in Rajya Sabha. But the rules states that the Leader of Opposition and Leader of House are always given chance to speak whenever they want to speak on any issue. In our case, we have to request and ask again and again,” Kharge said.
“This is very unfortunate and very unfair. I condemn it and walk out from the House.”
Subsequently, all the Opposition walked out of the House.
BJP leader Bhuwanwswar Kalitha, who was Presiding the Chair, told the LoP that he has been given chance to speak but Kharge along with other Opposition party leaders staged a walkout from the House.
Meanwhile, BJP leader GVL Narasimha raised the point of order and said that Kharge condemned the Chair and the word should be expunged from the record. “LoP is condemning the Chair. It should be expunged,” he stated.
From Chair, Kalitha said, “I have heard and taken cognizance”.
Since morning, the Opposition was raising issues to revoke the suspension of 12 MPs, and Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri incident that involved Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s jailed son Ashish Mishra.
In a move that angered the Opposition and set the stage for acrimonious exchanges, a dozen members of Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha were suspended from the winter session on the very first day on Monday following a motion brought in by the government.
The members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.
All the suspended 12 MPs used to sit near Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the Parliament premises since they were suspended from the House, and the Opposition parties have been relentlessly disrupting House proceedings every day over the issue barring a few occasions.
The Opposition has been demanding the sacking of MoS Ajay Mishra Teni over his jailed son, who is accused of running over farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri.
Opposition’s demands for Mishra’s sacking from the Union Cabinet have become louder after a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report said the killing of farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 was a “planned conspiracy”.
The farmers were crushed, allegedly by an SUV driven by Ashish Mishra, “with intent to commit murder” and it was “not death by negligence”, the report said.
It also recommended that the charges of rash driving against Ashish Mishra and the others be modified and an attempt to murder charge and the charge of voluntarily causing hurt be added.
Ashish Mishra and others are already facing murder and conspiracy charges.
The SIT on the basis of investigation also moved the court for adding charges of attempt to murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.
On October 3, eight people, including four protesting farmers, died after being mowed down by an SUV allegedly belonging to Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra.

Both Houses of Parliament adjourned amid Opposition ruckus over Lakhimpur Kheri incident

New Delhi [India]: The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been adjourned till 2 pm on Thursday following the Opposition’s protest in the House over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and their demand for the immediate resignation of Minister Ajay Mishra Teni.
Several Congress MPs in Lok Sabha, including Rahul Gandhi, earlier on Wednesday have moved an adjournment motion in the House over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident demanding the removal of Ajay Kumar Mishra as Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs. Speaking at the Lok Sabha today, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “We should be allowed to speak about the murder that was committed in Lakhimpur Kheri, where there was an involvement of the Minister and about which it has been said that it was a conspiracy.”
“The Minister who killed farmers should resign and be punished,” he added.
Notably, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case on Tuesday termed the Lakhimpur violence that led to the death of eight people as “a pre-planned conspiracy”.
Local farmers had blamed Ajay Kumar Mishra ‘Teni’ and his son Ashish for the violence that claimed the lives of four farmers and a local journalist among others during a farmers’ protest. Allegedly, they were mowed down by a vehicle that was part of the convoy of the minister in Lakhimpur Kheri. Videos were being circulated on social media, where a Mahindra Thar was seen knocking down protesters from behind.
The minister and his son have denied the charges. However, Ashish Mishra and several others have been booked for murder.
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm following the Opposition’s protest in the House over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and their demand for the immediate resignation of Minister Ajay Misra Teni.

Opposition not allowed to raise issues in Parliament, says Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday termed the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs as the “symbol of the crushing of the voice of people of India” and said that the Opposition is not allowed to raise any issue of national importance in the Parliament.
Speaking to the media at the Vijay Chowk, the Wayanad MP said, “Suspension of 12 MPs is a symbol of the crushing of the voice of people of India. Their voices have been crushed. They have done nothing wrong. We are not allowed to discuss important issues in Parliament.” “Bill after Bill is being passed in Parliament in the din. This is not the way to run the Parliament. The Prime Minister doesn’t come to House. We are not allowed to raise any issue of national importance. It is the unfortunate killing of democracy,” he said.
The Congress leader further called Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rajya Sabha Chairman “just implementors” of a power that wants to steal farmers’ income.
“A minister killed farmers. The Prime Minister is aware of it. Truth is that 2-3 capitalists are against farmers… These MPs were not suspended by the Rajya Sabha chairman or the Prime Minister but by the power that wants to steal farmers’ income. The Prime Minister and the chairman are just implementors,” he added.
The Opposition leaders in both the Houses held a march from Parliament to Vijay Chowk demanding to revoke the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Meanwhile, The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm on Tuesday as the Opposition parties disrupted proceedings of the House seeking revocation of suspension of 12 MPs from the House. The Upper House has witnessed continuous adjournment since the first day of the ongoing Winter Session over the suspension of the 12 members.
The winter session of Parliament began on November 29 and will continue till December 23.

Rajya Sabha adjourned following ruckus by Opposition

New Delhi [India]: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm on Tuesday following sloganeering by the Opposition demanding to revoke the suspension of 12 MPs.
As the sloganeering continued, the Chairman of the House said, “Let’s maintain decency and decorum in the House. Unruly and unparliamentary behaviour is not going to work at all.” The winter session of Parliament began on November 29 and will continue till December 23.

LS passes bill to extend tenures of CBI, ED chiefs; opposition parties slam government

New Delhi [India]: Opposition parties in Lok Sabha on Thursday slammed the government over the bills to extend the tenures of Directors of CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) up to a maximum of five years saying that the extensions will be given on the “whims and fancies of the political executive” and will undermine the autonomy of the two institutions.
The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021 were passed with a voice vote by the House after a reply by Minister of State of Department of Personnel and Training Jitendra Singh. Moving the bills for passage in the House, the minister said that if an official or chief of a probe agency is investigating a case, it requires “a certain amount of continuity besides institutional continuity”.
He said the bills only have enabling provision particularly when the FATF has also suggested to different nations to improve their law enforcement authorities.
RSP’s NK Premchandran slammed the government for bringing ordinances for extending tenures of chiefs of CBI and ED.
He said that the ordinances were brought days before the start of the winter session.
The member said that the bill entails extension by a year at a time after completion of two years of the chiefs of the two organisations and it will be done “on the whims and fancies of the political executive of the government”.
“Definitely the political executive will decide, who shall be given extension, and who shall not be given extension,” he said.
Congress MP Manish Tewari said the minister had tried to pass off the bills as “ordinary amendment” but it is not a fixed tenure of five years.
“It is a drip tenure on extension. Secondly, the ripple effect of such a move down the line is going to completely and absolutely undermine the autonomy and the independence of these institutions. I would like to request the government, I would like to request the minister to please take these two bills back. Please restore the position to the status quo ante. Let the Director of CBI and the Director of Enforcement Directorate have a fixed tenure. You want to have a tenure of five years, there is no difficulty with that. You want to have a fixed tenure of three years, there is absolutely no difficulty with that,” he said.
Tewari said the CBI and ED chiefs should be “insulated, autonomous and not at the beck and call of the government, which is the problem with these two bills”.
He also referred to a pending matter in Supreme Court and urged the minister to look into the larger issues about the legality of the CBI.
“One day, it will come back to haunt us collectively. Please file an application in the Supreme Court and please ask them to once for all determine whether the CBI is a legal organisation or the CBI is an illegal organisation,” he said.
Members of several other opposition parties including DMK and TMC also opposed the bills.
The bills provide that the tenure of the Director may be extended by up to one year at a time, till the completion of five years from the initial appointment.

Opposition parties except TDP, YSRCP boycott Rajya Sabha proceedings over suspension of 12 MPs

New Delhi [India] : The entire Opposition excluding Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress party (YSRCP) on Wednesday boycotted the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha over the suspension of 12 MPs.
The joint Opposition including Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Trinamool Congress, Left, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) did not join the Question Hour of the session when the House reassembled after its first adjournment till noon. Only TDP and YSRCP members were sitting in the House. Trinamool Congress MPs Nadimul Haque and Sushmita Dev joined the House for a moment but they only kept requesting the Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh to revoke the suspension of the MPs.
As Deputy Chairman did not consider their request and started Question Hour, they also boycotted the House after staging their protest for a few minutes.
The Opposition’s move comes after the Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow their demands regarding revocation of suspension when the Upper House met at 11 am and it led to the ruckus created by Opposition members and subsequently adjournment till noon.
Earlier, the Opposition had warned of boycotting the proceedings from the House if the suspension of 12 MPs is not revoked.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge had raised the issue requesting Rajya Sabha Chairman to revoke the suspension and “call all suspended MPs back in the House”.
VP Naidu rejected his points and asked him to sit and let the House conduct Zero Hour.
“Everyday, you raise the same issue. You are compounding the offence. You (Opposition) are not letting the House function for the last 10 days. You cannot force me,” VP Naidu said.
The Chairman then started Zero Hour.
The ruckus continued and several MPs started sloganeering “dictatorship will not go on in the democracy”, “revoke suspension of MPs”. They also showed placards that read “Suspend Us”.
Amid the din, the Chairman again tried to persuade the Opposition leaders to go back to their seats and let the House function.
“Minimum Support Price (MSP), farmers, COVID-19 are among many issued being raised in Zero Hour but you are not interested to discuss those issues. You are only creating disturbance,” VP Naidu said.
As the din continued during Zero Hour, the Chairman announced to adjourn the House till 12 noon.
In a move that angered the Opposition and set the stage for acrimonious exchanges, a dozen members of Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha were suspended from the winter session on the very first day on Monday following a motion brought in by the government.
The members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.
Since their suspension, all the 12 MPs regularly sit near Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament every day.

Rajya Sabha adjourned for day as Opposition continues ruckus on suspension of MPs

Parliament of India

New Delhi [India]: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday adjourned for the day amid pandemonium created by the Opposition leaders on various issues, including revocation of suspension of 12 MPs.
It was the fourth adjournment of the Upper House during its four-hour-long proceedings that started at 11 am. The final adjournment was announced a few minutes after the House met at 3 pm and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat resumed his speech on the need for the safety of dams across the country.
Shekhawat was speaking in favour of the ‘Dam Safety Bill, 2019’, which he moved earlier in the day for its consideration and passage.
Even as the minister was speaking, the Opposition, including Congress, Left, AAP and DMK, created a ruckus in the House seeking revocation of the suspension of 12 MPs.
Opposition party members including Congress, DMK, AAP and Left demonstrated their protest by standing in the House during the proceeding and raising slogans. A few members of the House trooped into the well of the House along with TRS MPs. Other Opposition parties sought revocation of suspension of 12 MPs while TRS was demanding national policy on food procurement. The TRS was also displayed placards raising its demand in the House.
Assam MP Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was on the Chair, requested the members to maintain the decorum of the House and let it settle, assuring to give them a chance to speak.
“Let the House be in order. You should maintain decorum. It (the way you are protesting) is not sending a good message in public. I will allow you to speak when there will be silence and decorum in the House. Let the Minister finish his speech first…,” said Kalita from the Chair.
As the Opposition did not take his suggestion seriously and continued their protest, Kalitha adjourned the House for the day announcing the next meeting at 11 am on Thursday.
Earlier the House saw two adjournments — first till 12 noon, second till 2 pm and the third till 3 pm following ruckus over suspension of 12 Members of the House for the remainder of the ongoing Winter Session.
The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday also faced similar protests by the Opposition over the suspension of 12 Members of the House.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Nadu on Tuesday had said that the suspension of these members was “in order to protect the democracy” and that “it was the decision of the House and not of the Chair”.
In a move that angered the Opposition and set the stage for acrimonious exchanges, a dozen members of Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha were suspended from the winter session on the very first day on Monday following a motion brought in by the government.
The members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the Well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.
Earlier on Wednesday, The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 12 noon following opposition parties’ uproar on various issues when the Rajya Sabha Chairman adopted the motion moved by the government regarding the selection of one member from amongst the Members of the Upper House to be a member of Court of the University of Allahabad.
Soon after the House assembled for the day at 11 am, papers were laid on the table and 10 reports of the department related parliamentary standing committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change were tabled.
Besides, six reports of the department related parliamentary standing committee on Communications and Information Technology (2021-2022), and three reports of the department-related parliamentary standing committee on Chemicals and Fertilisers were also tabled.

Stalemate likely to end in Rajya Sabha today as Opposition parties plan to take part in proceedings

New Delhi [India]: The stalemate in the Rajya Sabha is likely to end as the opposition parties plan to take part in House proceedings today, sources said.
Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has called the meeting of like-minded opposition parties at 10 am in his office to chalk out the strategy for the floor of the house. Opposition is demanding that the suspension of 12 opposition MPs should be revoked, terming the decision of the chair as “illegal”. Kharge has also written a letter to the Rajya Sabha chairman giving his views and mentioning provisions of the Constitution in this regard.
In his letter, Kharge has requested him to reconsider the matter of suspension of 12 MPs “in the larger interest of Parliamentary democracy” and revoke the suspensions.
“The Monsoon Session of the House concluded on August 11 and was prorogued by the President on August 31. If the House had only been adjourned and then reconvened without any prorogation, the argument of continuity would merit any justification.”
While on the other hand, 12 suspended MPs of Rajya Sabha will be sitting on dharna in front of the Gandhi statue inside the Parliament premises.
According to sources, opposition parties will take part in the proceedings of the House and will raise the demand regarding the suspension of MPs, as the opposition feels that House is functioning and is giving an easier path to the government while opposition parties are boycotting the proceedings of the house. But the final decision will be taken after the meeting of opposition floor leaders.
On Monday, 12 members were suspended for alleged unruly conduct towards the end of the monsoon session in August when marshals were called after Opposition members stormed the well of the House during the passage of the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021.
The suspended members comprise six from the Congress, two each from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from CPI and CPM: Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of Congress; Dola Sen, Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of CPM; and, Binoy Viswam of CPI.

Opposition likely to boycott session if suspension of 12 MPs not revoked

New Delhi [India] : The floor leaders of opposition will meet on Tuesday to discuss strategy after the suspension of 12 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. According to media reports, if the suspension was not revoked, the opposition may decide to boycott the House. The Congress has alleged that the government wants to pass the Bills and now has created a majority number after the suspension of MPs. “By suspending 12 MPs from the #RajyaSabha, BJP has now gone ahead of the majority number. Can easily pass listed bills through the upper house now. This move has no parallel in history of parliamentary democracy and is entirely undemocratic, unlawful, and unconstitutional!” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted. Fourteen parties under the signature of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge issued a statement saying the leaders of the opposition condemn the unwarranted and undemocratic suspension of 12 members in violation of rules of procedure of Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha on Monday suspended 12 MPs for the entire winter session of Parliament for creating ruckus in the House during the Monsoon Session on August 11. The suspended MPs are from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI, CPI-M and Shiv Sena. The members are — Syed Naseer Hussain, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora and Rajmani Patel of the Congress; Priyanka Chaturvedi, Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena; Elamaram Kareem of the CPI-M, Binoy Viswam of the CPI, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri of the Trinamool.

Farm Laws Repeal Bill passed in Lok Sabha amid sloganeering by Opposition

New Delhi [India] : The controversial Farm Laws Repeal Bill was passed in Lok Sabha amid sloganeering by Opposition on Monday, the first day of Winter Session. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had tabled the Bill. Even as the Bill was passed, the Opposition led by Congress kept creating ruckus and hence the Speaker again adjourned the House till 2 PM. Earlier, Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till noon on Monday amid din as Opposition members sought to raise the issue of deaths of farmers during their protests against three farm laws, on the first day of the Winter Session. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issue of deaths of farmers and later, members of the party raised demands for measures to ensure the well being of farmers. Members from the Trinamool Congress, Congress and other parties trooped into the Well on the issue of farmers. Initially, the Congress members were protesting from their seats and subsequently joined Trinamool Congress members who were already in the Well. They were also joined by members from some other Opposition parties. Some Opposition members displayed placards which read ‘save farmers’. As the din continued, Speaker Om Birla told the protesting members that they should ensure the dignity of the House and that it was the first day of the Winter Session. With no let up in the protests, Birla adjourned the proceedings till 2 PM and the House managed to take up only one question during the Question Hour. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House.

Congress failing to play role of main opposition party in country: Mukul Sangma

Shillong (Meghalaya) [India] : Stating that the country needs a Pan-India opposition party and the Indian National Congress (INC) is failing to fulfill the same, former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Thursday said that the Congress MLAs, who resigned from the party, has taken ‘conscious decision’ to join the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Addressing a press conference, senior Congress leader and former CM Sangma, “We have taken ‘conscious decision’ to march with the All India Trinamool Congress. This is the culmination of exhaustive due diligence and analysis. A complete sense of commitment towards serving the people has brought us to take this decision.” He further said, “In 2018, we were confident of winning the Assembly elections and forming the government, but we could not. We were the single largest party. Again, post-poll there were activities to poach our members. Later, the Congress party was reduced to 17.”
Sangma said, “We have a team in Meghalaya which has demonstrated efficiency and earned the trust of the people. This trust and honor must be honored.”
The former chief minister said, “(As Congressmen), we are failing to fulfill the responsibility of the opposition party. We are failing in fulfilling our duty and responsibilities. The pulse of India is that there is a need of strong alternative opposition as a political party.”
“Based on the perception, the Congress party is failing to really respond to its call of duty as a main opposition party in the country. Therefore, our exercise to find a viable option to take care of the state, northeast region and the country culminated in this decision (of joining the TMC),” said Sangma.

PM Modi hits out at opposition, says keeping farmers entangled in problems has been basis of some political parties

Mahoba (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: Hitting out at the opposition parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that keeping farmers entangled in problems has been the basis of some political parties.
Addressing a public meeting here, the Prime Minister said the government of parties run by families did not want to fulfil the requirements of farmers. He said while these parties practice “politics of problems” the BJP practices “politics of solutions”.
“The governments run by parties of families wanted to keep farmers in problems. They used to make announcements in the name of farmers, but even a pie did not reach them. From PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, we have sent 1. 62 crore rupees directly to the bank accounts of farmers so far,” the Prime Minister said.
“To always keep farmers entangled in problems has been the basis of some political parties. They do politics of problems while we do of solutions. The solution to Ken-Betwa link has been found by our government. We found the solution after talking to all sections,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the government has taken steps for the welfare of farmers at every level – from seeds to the market.
The Prime Minister made the remarks hours after he announced the repeal of three farm laws. In his address to the nation on Friday morning, he also said that the government will complete the constitutional process to repeal the three agricultural laws in the winter session of parliament that begins later this month.
Farmers have been protesting against the three farm laws since they were passed last year.
During his visit to Mahoba district in Uttar Pradesh, the Prime Minister dedicated various developmental projects including the Arjun Sahayak Project, Ratauli Weir Project, Bhaoni Dam Project and Majhgaon-Chilli Sprinkler Project. The cumulative cost of these projects is more than Rs 3250 crore and these will help in irrigation of around 65,000 hectares of land in Mahoba, Hamirpur, Banda and Lalitpur districts. These projects will also provide potable drinking water to the region.

PM Modi slams Opposition

Sultanpur (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : Slamming the Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that both Delhi and Lucknow were dominated by dynasts for years and the partnership of family members kept crushing the aspirations of people of Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a gathering in Sultanpur after inaugurating Purvanchal Expressway, PM Modi said: “In Uttar Pradesh, we have seen a long period of governments who showed dreams of industrialization without worrying about connectivity. As a result, many factories located here were shut due to the lack of infrastructure. It was also unfortunate that both Delhi and Lucknow were dominated by the dynasts . For years and years, this partnership of family members kept crushing the aspirations of Uttar Pradesh.” “The people of Uttar Pradesh were treated unfairly by the then government. Discrimination was done in development just to serve the interest of their family. The people of Utter Pradesh removed those governments from the path of development of the state forever and ever. Who can forget the power cuts, the law and order condition and the condition of medical facilities in Uttar Pradesh earlier? For previous chief ministers, development was limited to where they had their homes,” he said.
Prime Minister pointed out that for the all-round development of the country, the balanced development of the country is equally important. Some areas marching ahead in the race of development and some areas lagging decades behind is not right for any country.
“The previous governments did not pay attention to all-round and holistic development of Uttar Pradesh. One region of the state and its people were given away to mafia and poverty. I am happy that today this region is writing a new chapter of development,” he said
Taking a jibe at the Opposition leaders, Prime Minister said, “When double engine government gets such double benefits, I see some people losing their cool. It is very natural for them to speak like this. Those who fail in their time, are not even able to see the success of Yogi ji.”
“But I am pained that the then Uttar Pradesh government did not cooperate. They were also scared of upsetting their vote banks by standing beside me in public. I used to come as an MP, they used to disappear after receiving me at the airport. They were ashamed as they had nothing to show as work,” he added.
Elections for 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh are due early next year.

Karnataka Bitcoin scam: Issue turned bigger as Opposition did not investigate when in power, says Bommai

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday slammed the Congress party over the alleged bitcoin scam and said that the “issue had become bigger” because the Opposition did not probe the matter properly when it was in power.
“They (Congress) say that the matter began in 2016. If there was something related to Karnataka, then why the party in power did not notice it at that time. You have got to know about the accused, but did not do the proper enquiry,” said an official statement issued by the Chief Minister Office. Further, Bommai said, “Why did not you do proper enquiry when you (Congress) were in power? You left it and the issue had become bigger. And now you are questioning us.”
“On the basis of the Twitter handle, they are alleging the scam. Anyone can raise the issue on Twitter. If you are raising the issue, then you have to speak on the basis of evidence and witness,” he said.
He said, “We are fair enough and investigated the case. We are the ones who referred it to the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation. The investigation is going on.”
The Chief Minister also said that the government will not spare anyone whoever was indulged in the scam. “If they have evidence let them submit it to ED or the police, we will take action immediately,” he added.
Earlier on Saturday, Bommai termed the allegations “politically motivated” and asked the Opposition to submit the documents related to the scam to the investigation agencies which are already conducting the probe into the issue.
“Let those who are making the allegations explain what exactly the scam is and who is involved in it. The case has been handed over to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) 8-9 months ago. Interpol Cell of the CBI too has been informed about the case which has an international dimension,” he said.
“Our government has an open mind about the issue. There is no question of shielding anybody. None of us is involved in it. Let them submit the documents in their possession to the investigation agencies, let the truth come out,” he further added.
Meanwhile, State Minister K Sudhakar also called Congress the “party of corruption” over the alleged bitcoin scam and said that the state government has ordered an investigation in the matter and the investigating team has shared all information with Interpol, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI.
Earlier, former Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah alleged that politicians and officials were involved in a Bitcoin scam in the state and that the investigation agencies are trying to safeguard them.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief DK Shivakumar claimed that it took place on a large scale and said that it is shocking to hear the names of police officers, political leaders and businessmen in the scam.

Pakistan oppn lashes out at Imran Khan govt over piling up of loans, energy crisis

Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan opposition has slammed Imran Khan-led government over piling up of massive loans, unprecedented devaluation of rupee and deepening energy crisis in the country.
The News International reported that Senator Sherry has said that the Pakistan government continues to maintain its indefensible position on mismanagement of the gas sector and its iniquitous distribution in the country, yet shows us no plan for overcoming the crisis as a harsh winter looms ahead. “None has answered the basic question as to why the government could not manage the purchase of LNG in the summer at 1/3 the rates. The price of gas today is also naturally related to the LNG fiasco and its shortage. Currently, Pakistan is facing an estimated shortfall of 2,200mmcfd while the prices have become unaffordable for people,” she said, reported Pakistani newspaper.
Senator Sherry noted that the rupee has dropped to a historic low of Rs 176 against the USD. The government doesn’t seem to have a plan to tackle this crisis as it has taken an ad hoc approach that has led the power sector into terrible paralysis.
“The government purchased LNG cargoes at the historic high price of $30.6 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) now when it was being sold at $13 per mmbtu in the summer. They did not purchase or book cargoes when all other countries were doing it in the summer at much lower rates. Even in October, they purchased LNG cargoes at a record price of $20.29 per mmbtu,” she said.
Pakistan is on the verge of a massive shortage of gas and rationing due to depleting local gas reserves and the failure of the Imran Khan government to procure a sufficient quantity of LNG.
On November 1, energy minister Hammad Azhar had informed that the government has arranged 11 LNG cargoes for the month of November, The News International reported.
LNG trading companies have backed out of an agreement made with PLL to provide two cargoes for November for mammoth monetary gains of up to 200 per cent profit in the international spot market, according to the publication.
Pakistan’s cost of energy production has increased following an increase in fuel prices.
Almost two-thirds of the country’s electricity generation is based on fossil fuels, as per The Tribune.
The rise in crude oil prices have hit the highest in the last three years – USD 86 per barrel, the newspaper reported. The energy crisis is worsening due to the rising cost of the LNG.

Pak opposition is fighting for country’s survival: Fazlur Rehman rips into Imran Khan govt

Karachi [Pakistan] : Ramping up the protests against Prime Minister Imran Khan government, the Pakistan Opposition alliance– Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)– said it is fighting for the country’s survival and that it would win in this struggle.
Addressing a PDM protest in Karachi, PDM and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman said: “We will win this war, and Pakistan will have a government that is truly representative of the people, which will understand the problems faced by the masses. The ones who [were imposed] are not aware of the public’s issues.” Politicians are the hope of the nation. If we do not play our role today, the nation will not forgive us,” Rehman said adding that the state intuitions should review their “mistakes” and seek apology from the nation, Geo News reported.
The rally was held against the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan for its “anti-people policies” and the rising inflation in Pakistan.
Rehman, who is also the Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party also slammed the Imran Khan government for its “incompetency” and vowed to make all the efforts to remove the Pakistan Tareek-e-Insaf from power.
“We will win this war, and Pakistan will have a government that is truly representative of the people, which will understand the problems faced by the masses. The ones who [were imposed] are not aware of the public’s issues,”
“If we do not push the ‘illegitimate’ rulers in the Arabian Sea anytime soon, then the survival of the country will be in danger,” Rehman said during the rally.
Besides Rehman, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Senior Vice President and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also addressed the rally.
Stressing that the ruling Imran Khan government came into power through the rigged election, Abbasi said that snap and transparent election in Pakistan is the only way forward to resolve prevailing issues of the nation, reported local media, Express Tribune reported.
The rally came days after PDM had announced to launch the ‘Mehngai’ march in provincial capitals before going ahead with a long march towards Islamabad, ARY News reported citing sources.
The opposition alliance had informed that the rallies against the government over rising inflation would be held in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar.

Pakistan: Major opposition alliance holds rally against Imran Khan government in Karachi

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The alliance of major opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Saturday is holding a rally at Karachi’s busy Regal Chowk to protest the rising inflation under Imran Khan government.
PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan leader of the opposition in the national assembly, Shehbaz Sharif are also likely to address the rally, Samaa TV reported. Hundreds of workers from the PDM parties, especially Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, have gathered in the rally.
Karachi traffic police have closed at least five roads leading to Regal Chowk and released a traffic plan, Samaa TV reported.
This came days after PDM announced to hold ‘mehngai’ march across Pakistan before going ahead with a long march towards Islamabad.
The PDM informed that the rallies against the government over rising inflation would be held in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar.
In other recent developments, the Imran Khan government has announced a hike in the price of petrol by Pakistani Rs 8.03 per litre, a day after the Prime Minister also warned the nation that fuel prices would have to undergo an increase.

Punjab assembly polls: AAP announces first list of 10 candidates

Chandigarh [Punjab] [India] : The Aam Aadmi Party on Friday announced its first list of 10 candidates for the 2022 Punjab assembly polls. All of the 10 candidates are sitting MLAs. Senior AAP leader Harpal Singh Cheema, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, has been given ticket from Dirba seat, while Aman Arora will contest from Sunam assembly constituency, according to the list shared by the party on its Twitter handle. Saravjit Kaur Manuke will contest from Jagraon seat and Baljinder Kaur from Talwandi Sabo. Kishan Roudi has been given ticket from Garhshankar seat, Manjit Bilaspur from Nihal Singh Wala, Kultar Singh Sandhwan from Kotkapura, Budhram from Budhlada, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer from Barnala, and Kulwant Pandori from Mehal Kalan, according to the list. The election to the 117-member Punjab assembly is due early next year. The poll schedule is yet to be announced by the Election Commission.

Imran Khan govt again plans to increase petroleum prices

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government has again expressed the intention to increase the petroleum development levy on petroleum products in the coming days amid condemnation by the Opposition parties after a recent hike in prices of petroleum products.
“The International Monetary Fund [IMF] has also asked to increase the petroleum development levy [PDL] but it will depend on the global prices of petroleum products,” Geo News quoted Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin on Saturday. “If the global price of oil goes down, it will be easy for the government to increase the PDL,” Tarin said, adding that the prices of petroleum products were increased because they were directly linked with the international market, where the prices touched their peak in the last several years, Geo News reported.
Earlier on Friday, Imran Khan led-government had increased petroleum prices by up to Pakistani Rupees 8.14 per litre,
Meanwhile, Imran Khan on Wednesday announced “country’s biggest-ever” subsidy package worth Rs 120 billion, providing a 30 per cent discount on ghee, flour and pulses to support 130 million people by ebbing away from the impact of inflation.
Shortly after Khan’s announcement opposition leaders had criticised the move and had called it an “acceptance of the government’s failure” and “nothing but a joke”, said the Pakistani publication.
Taking to Twitter, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that the PM’s package is “too little for 200 million people,” Geo News reported.
Following suit, former senator and PPP leader Sherry Rehman had termed PM Imran Khan’s address to the nation a “bizarre speech”, and called the premier the “Blame Minister of Pakistan”.

Pakistan Opposition seeks public opinion to oust Imran Khan govt

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz Sharif has sought public opinion on what “extreme and effective” measures the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) could take to throw Imran Khan government out of power, reported a local media.
The timing of the move is interesting as it came at a time when the anti-government alliance is devising the strategy to make the most of the rising public sentiments against the rising inflation in the country due to inflation, reported The Express Tribune. Taking to Twitter, Maryam said, “The PDM and the PML-N want to interpret the feelings of the people and cure their sufferings and want to stand by you in your hour of need and be your voice,” reported Tribune.
“What do you think should be our most effective and extreme measure in this regard,” she further wrote.
Taking a jibe at the Imran Khan government, Maryam said that only those who do not know the plight of the government could say something like what the government said, according to Tribune.
“Just ask the people if they want Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan of 2017 or your Pakistan of poverty, inflation, unemployment, unrest, terrorism and starvation,” she further questioned.
Maryam said that the Imran Khan government has made Pakistan the “most backward country” in the region in “every field”.
“When the heart of the ruler has deprived of the sympathy for people then this stubbornness [by the government] becomes visible,” Tribune reported Maryam as stating in her tweet.
Meanwhile, the alliance of major opposition parties, PDM on Saturday decided to hold ‘mehngai’ march in provincial capitals before going ahead with a long march towards Islamabad.
This came after the PDM held a meeting to discuss the strategy of the alliance for a joint sitting of the Parliament on November 10 and rising inflation, ARY News reported.
The parties informed that the rallies against the government over rising inflation would be held in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar.

Pakistan opposition slams Imran Khan over upcoming ‘relief package’

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Wednesday slammed Imran Khan over his upcoming ‘relief package’ for inflation and poverty stating that the prime minister’s resignation was the only solution to get rid of all problems.
While addressing a press conference, Aurangzeb said that the Prime Minister’s resignation was the only solution to rid the country of menaces, including inflation, unemployment and poverty, Dawn reported. Her statement came in the wake of the government’s announcement that a “big package” was to be unveiled today in order to deal with rising inflation and provide relief to 10 million people directly, said the Pakistani publication.
The government has been facing severe criticism from the opposition after the premier approved a Pakistani Rs 10 increase in the price of petroleum products last month. Major opposition parties, including the PML-N and the PPP, have held country-wide rallies and protests over what they termed “unprecedented inflation in the country”, Dawn reported.
During her press conference, Aurangzeb accused Imran Khan of lacking the required competence to run the country. “You have no ability to decide the fate of 220 million Pakistanis. You are here to facilitate the mafia that has good terms with you,” she alleged.
The PML-N leader insisted that the package Imran Khan was is to announce today would be a “cosmetic” one. She said if the prime minister actually intended to provide relief to the masses “then he should revert wheat price to Rs 35 per kg and power tariff to Rs 11 per unit”, said the Pakistani publication.

Pakistan opposition slams Imran Khan govt over power tariff hike

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Slamming the Imran Khan government over back-to-back price hikes, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Vice President Sherry Rehman said rising prices, inflation and unemployment were making life extremely difficult for the common man, local media reported on Saturday.
This comes as the Pakistani government increased the base power tariff by Pakistani Rs 1.39 per unit to fulfil the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demand to stay in its programme. “Is anyone tearing electricity bills up in public meetings now?” asked PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman in an indirect reference to the demonstrations staged in the past by then opposition lawmaker Imran Khan in which electricity bills were torn up or torched in public to protest against hike in power tariff, Dawn reported.
“Moreover, since the last price hike two weeks ago, now there’s news that Ogra has suggested increasing the price of petrol by Rs5.90 per litre, and diesel by Rs9.75 per litre from October 16. In the last three years, Rs30 increase has been seen in per litre of petrol prices. Does ‘PTIMF’ even realise the impact of these back-to-back price hike bombs on people?” the PPP leader asked.
She said the inflation rate stood at nine per cent. Wheat that was Rs740 for 20kg in the past was being sold at Rs 1,150, while sugar was being sold at Rs 110 per kg when it was actually Rs 60 per kg, she said, adding that all this combined with inflation and unemployment was making life extremely difficult for the common man, Dawn reported.
Discussing the meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), she said it was very difficult to have any confidence in the Imran-led government when debt had been raking up and had more than doubled since PPP’s time to a whopping Rs 39.9 trillion.
Despite the existing high prices of commodities, she said, the IMF conditions to increase electricity tariff and taxes seemed to have been accepted by the government.
“We have also gone to the IMF but have been transparent about it. PPP’s terms were always clear; we did not drive millions into poverty, homelessness and joblessness in the name of stabilisation goals,” she said.
The PPP senator said the present government never took parliament into confidence over its agreement with the IMF that only resulted in “a tsunami of unbearable utility and food staple price hikes”, Dawn reported.

PM slams Opposition for being selective on human rights violations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a veiled dig at the Opposition and said that human rights are violated when an incident is seen through the “political spectacles” and this “selective behaviour” is harmful to the democracy.

New Delhi [India], October 12 : Speaking at the 28th foundation day programme of the National Humans Rights Commission of India (NHRC), PM Modi said, “Some people see human rights violations in some incidents but not in other similar incidents. Human rights are violated when viewed via political spectacles. Selective behaviour is harmful to democracy. They attempt to harm the nation’s image through their selective behaviour.” “Human rights should not be only about rights, but also duties. The two should be discussed together, not separately. Other than awareness of their rights, each individual must abide by their duties,” he added.


Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission of India Justice Arun Kumar Mishra were also present at the event.
The Prime Minister had earlier said that NHRC plays an important role in our nation in protecting the human rights and dignity of the marginalised.
As per a Prime Minister’s office release, NHRC was set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 on October 12, 1993, for the promotion and protection of human rights.
The Commission takes cognisance of any form of human rights violations, conducts enquiries and in cases of violation of human rights, recommends to the public authorities for payment of compensation to the victims, other remedial and legal measures against the erring public servants.

PM Modi remembers Mahatma Gandhi, says Bapu is symbol of human rights, values across globe

Remembering Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of the foundation day of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that ‘Bapu’ is a symbol of human rights and human values across the globe.
Addressing the 28th NHRC Foundation Day programme, PM Modi said that when the whole world was engulfed in the violence of the first World War, India suggested the path of ‘rights and non-violence’ to the world. “At a time when the whole world was engulfed in the violence of World War I, India suggested the path of ‘rights and non-violence’ to the whole world. Not only India but the whole world sees our Bapu as a symbol of human rights and human values,” the Prime Minister said.
PM Modi further said that the movements during our freedom struggle remain a great source of inspiration for the values of human rights for India.
“Even after Independence, our constitution gave a new perspective on equality to the world. In the past decades, the world has been distracted so many times but India remained committed to its principles,” he added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission of India Justice Arun Kumar Mishra were also present at the event.
The Prime Minister had earlier said that NHRC plays an important role in our nation in protecting the human rights and dignity of the marginalised.
As per a Prime Minister’s office release, NHRC was set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 on October 12, 1993, for the promotion and protection of human rights.
The Commission takes cognisance of any form of human rights violations, conducts enquiries and in cases of violation of human rights, recommends to the public authorities for payment of compensation to the victims, other remedial and legal measures against the erring public servants.

Pakistan opposition calls for early elections, says people want to get rid of Imran Khan-led government

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Saturday called for early elections in the country, and said that the people want to get rid of Imran Khan-led government amid rising inflation and economic crisis in the country, local media reported.
The demand was put forth by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as they addressed a press conference following a meeting at the latter’s residence, reported Geo News. Shahbaz said the country’s political developments were discussed in detail during the meeting. He added that matters related to PDM, skyrocketing inflation, increase in electricity, flour prices, and dengue — which is wreaking havoc in the country — also came under discussion, Geo News reported.
The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly said all political parties and the masses demand free and fair elections in the country, which is the “only way to take Pakistan forward”, the Pakistani publication said.
“This is not an easy path; we will have to commit all our energies to it, work, day and night, and only then can we take the country back to the state it was in during 2018 — after that, we can take the country towards progress,” Geo News quoted Sharif as saying. He further added that for this, “we need to hold free and fair elections”.
Moreover, Fazl said a “historic” public gathering would be held in Faisalabad on October 16 and a large gathering would take place in Dera Ghazi Khan on October 31. Prior to this, JUI-F has announced it will hold the Mufti Mehmood Conference on October 14, said the publication.
“The people want to get rid of the government which has been forced on them, and to resolve this issue, there is a need to hold elections at the earliest,” the PDM chief said, adding, “The institutions have been ruined.”
The PDM chief said teachers, lawyers, doctors, landowners, labourers, farmers, were all drastically affected due to the government’s policies, and a poor person cannot afford to put food on the table due to the rising inflation, Geo News reported.
Meanwhile, Shahbaz also said if the PDM chief calls for a long march against the government, he and his party would back him.

Opposition unity on test as TMC upsets Congress

New Delhi [India]: The Opposition unity against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government stands on shaky ground at present and has been put on test once again as Congress is apparently upset with Trinamool Congress (TMC) and has accused it of poaching party leaders to fulfil its aspiration to become a national alternative to the ruling party at the Centre.
Congress disappointment was clearly reflected when Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, without naming TMC, said in a tweet that people looking for a “national” alternative based on poaching INC functionaries were in for a big disappointment and that there are no quick-fix solutions. “People looking for a “national” alternative based on poaching INC functionaries who can’t win even their own seats is in for a big disappointment. Unfortunately, to become a national alternative deep-rooted and concerted efforts are needed and there are no quick-fix solutions,” Baghel said in a tweet.
Trinamool Congress has maintained that it has no intention to weaken the Congress and its leader Mamata Banerjee continues to maintain good relations with Congress ‘high command’.
Mamata Banerjee had called on Congress President Sonia Gandhi during her Delhi visit recently. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was also present at the meeting.
After a spectacular victory in assembly polls earlier this year, Trinamool Congress made no bones about its national ambitions whether inside the parliament or outside it.
TMC continues to raise national issues and look beyond Bengal. Party leaders also visited Lakhimpur Khiri where eight people, including four farmers, died in violence on Sunday last.
In the last few months, some Congress leaders have joined the Trinamool Congress. Former Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev, former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro and several other leaders from Tripura, Goa and Meghalaya also joined Trinamool.
TMC says that it is inducting leaders across the country to safeguard its national party status but the induction of leaders from its ranks has not gone down too well with Congress.
Earlier, some reports emerged that some G23 leaders are also in touch with TMC leadership. However, there is no confirmation on this.
TMC leadership is accusing Congress of not giving a strong opposition to the ruling dispensation at the Centre and working on a national expansion plan.
Mamata Banerjee also shares a good rapport with regional leaders including Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Pawar and Arvind Kejriwal. Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had also praised her victory in Bengal polls.

Pandora Papers: Opposition calls Imran Khan’s investigation cell ‘hoax’

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s opposition parties on Monday termed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to establish a cell to investigate the Pakistani nationals whose names appeared in the Pandora Papers “a hoax” and called for an inquiry through a judicial commission or an independent commission like that of Panama Papers.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) said that the investigation cell established by Khan was nothing but a “hoax” and a move to protect the ministers and other people associated with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies, Dawn reported. Pandora Papers were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday.
The rejection from opposition comes after Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday announced that a high-level commission would be set up to investigate Pakistanis named in the Pandora Papers.
“The high-level cell under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission will investigate all individuals mentioned in the Pandora Papers and will present facts before the nation,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter, The Express Tribune reported.
PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb on Twitter said that the investigation of the Pandora Papers was not possible, as long as Khan remained the prime minister, Dawn reported.
She suggested that Khan should “First resign and then order investigations,” and termed the formation of the cell, a ‘joke’ with Pakistan.
PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bokhari while talking to Dawn said that the investigation cell was of no use if it would function under Khan. He further said that if the cell reported back to Khan, instead of the judiciary, its fate would be the same as the commissions set up previously by the government to probe the wheat, sugar and petrol scams.
Bokhari also said that just like the Panama Papers case, the Pandora Papers case should also be investigated through a judicial forum.

Kerala Opposition ‘Walkout’

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India]: The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly on Monday demanding to discuss the plus one seat allotment.
UDF-led opposition brought an adjournment motion demanding to discuss the issue. While presenting the motion, Palakkad MLA Shafi Parambil said there are not adequate seats available for plus one in the schools in Kerala. Many students who have A+ in all subjects did not get seats in the first allotment. Replying to Shafi Parambil’s notice on an adjournment motion, Education Minister V Sivankutty said in the assembly that all plus-one applicants will get admission in the second allotment. He added that seats in various reservation categories that lay vacant after the first allotment will be converted into merit seats.
Sivankutty said that 4,69,219 students have applied for admissions of which 1,25,509 students got A+ in all subjects and this is three times more than last year.
“A total of 3,94,457 seats are currently available in the higher secondary sector alone this year. In addition, there are 33,000 seats available in Vocational Higher Secondary and about 70,000 seats in Polytechnic/ITI,” added the education minister.
After the minister explained, the speaker denied permission for adjournment motion and the Opposition staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly.
However, the opposition stated that nearly two lakh children are worried about getting admission as the number of Plus One seats in the state is inadequate.
While speaking to the media, Opposition leader, V D Satheesan said the total number of seats available in Kerala is much lower than the aspirants.
“Today we arrived to bring the issue of students who were trying to get admission for plus one seats in Kerala. The total number of seats available in Kerala is much lower than the number of aspirants. So thousands of students are not going to get seats and here 120,000 students are got full A+ in all subjects. Not even those students are getting desired seats for the desired schools in Kerala. The state government is not ready to solve this issue. So nearly 2 lakhs students and their parents are in anxiety, they are trying to get seats but they are not getting seats in their taluks of in their districts. So the situation is very serious and we raised this issue. But the government is not ready to settle the matter,” said Satheesan.
He further said that our demand is to increase the seats and the batches. There is a gap between the number of aspirants and the allotted seats in many schools.

Nepal govt plans to table Appropriation Bill amid protest from opposition

Kathmandu [Nepal]: The Government of Nepal has planned to table an appropriation bill for endorsement in the lower house on Monday morning amid protest from the opposition.

The lower house meeting has been called for 11 am (local time). Finance Minister Janardan Sharma is scheduled to table the Appropriation Bill for endorsement in today’s meeting.
However, the meeting is unlikely to proceed since the main opposition CPN-UML has been disrupting the parliament which they had vowed to continue until their demands are met. Meanwhile, ruling coalition parties have issued a whip to all the lawmakers to be present in the House meeting saying that the budget will be tabled for endorsement.

With the appropriation bill yet to be endorsed from the lower house, the Government is not able to spend from the state treasury. The erstwhile government led by CPN (UML) on May 29 had brought ordinance budget for the current fiscal year and it was presented in the federal parliament on July 19.

As per the provision, an ordinance has to be passed within 60 days. On the same basis, the Appropriation Bill should have been passed by Wednesday. The endorsement of the Bill has been uncertain as the UML which has the charge of main opposition continues to obstruct the House.

The government had brought a bill to replace the ordinance budget on September 10 amid protest from the opposition. The opposition CPN-UML lawmakers have been obstructing house procession against the issuance of an ordinance to split the political party.

They have been shouting slogans against House Speaker Agni Sapkota who also is blamed to be involved in bringing party splitting ordinance. The opposition has accused the Speaker of being biased for letting expelled members from the former party attend the meeting of the fresh session.

The ordinance brought by the Deuba government had paved the way for the CPN-UML and the JanataSamajwadi Party (JSP) to split. The government had introduced the ordinance by ending the ninth session of the federal parliament on August 16.

UML had dismissed 14 lawmakers including former PM Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal alleging them of violation of party discipline. House Speaker who owns the right about taking action against the members of the house, gave his decision to keep 14 lawmakers from the opposition in their post and cancelled the recommendation to cancel their seat off parliament.

The opposition then moved to the Supreme Court where a hearing over the issue is due for this month. Awaiting verdict from the apex court, Prime Minister Deuba has delayed his cabinet formation which would include Madhav Nepal led the new party on board. (ANI)

Fault lies with opposition : BJP

New Delhi [India]: Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said that the fault lies with the opposition leaders so they are shying away from a probe into the ruckus in the Rajya Sabha.
Speaking to ANI, the minister said that, “Following the parliament ruckus, everyone asked for a fair investigation. However, now the opposition parties are shying away from it and not participating willingly.” Mentioning that the opposition members destroyed the decorum of the upper house, Naqvi said, “This only means that the fault lies somewhere in their head and heart.”
Earlier today, the Congress party refused to be a part of the proposed inquiry committee of MPs being set up to investigate the ruckus that took place during the monsoon session, this year.
On August 11, there was turmoil in the Rajya Sabha with the opposition alleging misbehaviour by marshals, while the ruling party alleged violence against parliament staff and others by opposition MPs.
Two Congress women MPs, Phulo Devi and Chayya Varma had alleged that they were manhandled during the ruckus in the House. As per official sources, an official complaint has been lodged against the MPs who created ruckus in Rajya Sabha during the recently concluded monsoon session.

Pegasus probe among 11 demands raised by opposition parties, to hold joint protests between September 20-30

New Delhi [India]: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of 18 other political parties on Friday launched a strong attack on the Narendra Modi government accusing it of “destruction of economy” and demanded Supreme Court-monitored judicial probe into the use of Pegasus Spyware, speeding up of COVID-19 vaccination, free cash transfers of Rs.7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket, repeal of three farm laws and compulsory guarantee of MSP to farmers.
In a joint statement after meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi, the leaders said they will jointly organize protest actions all over the country from September 20 to 30. The leaders condemned the manner in which the Central government and the ruling party disrupted the monsoon session of Parliament and said unprecedented scenes were witnessed “where MPs, including women MPs, were injured by Marshalls deployed to disrupt Opposition protests”.
The leaders demanded “withdraw of unprecedented hikes in central excise duties on petrol and diesel, “reversal of the unbridled privatisation of the public sector”.
Seeking release all political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir, the leaders sought restoration of full statehood including Jammu and Kashmir cadre of central services and free and fair election at the earliest.
They demanded the release of all political prisoners, including those under draconian UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case and anti-CAA protests.
The leaders also sought a probe into Rafale deal, asking why the old deal made during the UPA government was cancelled.
Noting that the government will not be able to achieve full vaccination against COVID-19 by the end of the year, the opposition leaders asked the government to “augment all vaccine production capabilities in India, procure vaccines globally and speed up the free universal mass vaccination drive immediately”.
The said adequate compensation should be provided for those who lost their lives due to COVID-19 and the public health care system should be expanded vastly.
“Central Government must implement free cash transfers of Rs 7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket. Distribute free food kits containing all essential commodities of daily consumption to all the needy. Withdraw unprecedented hikes in central excise duties on petrol and diesel, reduce prices of cooking gas and essential commodities, particularly cooking oil and control galloping inflation,” the statement said.
They called for repeal of the labour codes which dilute the rights of the labour and the working class.
” Repeal the three anti-agriculture Laws and compulsorily guarantee MSP to farmers. Stop and reverse the unbridled privatisation of the public sector, repeal the labour codes which dilute the rights of the labour and the working class and restore the rights of the working people to protest and for wage bargaining,” the statement said.
The leaders called for the implementation of monetary stimulus packages for the revival of MSMEs, not the provision of loans.
” Increase public investments to build our economic and social infrastructure generating jobs and boosting domestic demand. Fill up the vacancies in government jobs.”
They called for vastly enlarging MGNREGA with increasing guarantee for 200 days with at least doubling of wages.
They also demanded an urban employment guarantee programme on similar lines.
The leaders said vaccination of teachers, staff and students should be prioritised to ensure early re-opening of educational institutions.
“Hold immediate Supreme Court-monitored judicial enquiry into the use of Pegasus Spyware for surveillance of people. High-level investigation into the Rafale deal – the cancellation of the earlier order and placing of a new order at a higher cost,” the statement said.
“Stop using other draconian laws like sedition/NSA to violate democratic rights and civil liberties of the people. Release all media personnel detained for exercising their fundamental right of freedom of expression,” it added.
The leaders said that forms of the public protest actions against the BJP-led government will be decided by the respective state units of their parties depending on the concrete conditions of the COVID regulations and protocols existing in the state.
These forms may include dharnas, protest demonstrations and strikes, they said.
“We, the leaders of 19 Opposition Parties, call upon the people of India to rise to the occasion to defend our secular, democratic Republican order with all our might. Save India today, so that we can change it for a better tomorrow,” the statement said.
It said that Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav wrote a letter and expressed his inability to join the meeting as he was in the interior of the State. This statement was, however, sent to him.
They said the government “steamrolled legislations through the din of the disruption caused by its handling of both Houses of Parliament.”
The statement said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day address, “did not focus on a single-issue concerning people’s miseries”.
“The speech was full of rhetoric, empty slogans and disinformation. In fact, it was a repackaging of earlier speeches given in 2019 and 2020. This speech is an ominous warning that lives of our people will continue to be ruined further.”
The opposition leaders accused the government of “massive mismanagement in handling the COVID-19 pandemic” saying it has resulted in imposing severe pain on a large number of people, particularly families who have lost their beloved members.
” The instances of under-reporting, both the number of infections and the deaths, have been noted by many international and national agencies, who estimate that the actual figures are at least five times more than what is being officially stated.”
The statement said that only 11.3 per cent of adult population has received both doses and 40 per cent (including this 11.3 per cent) have received a single dose.
“The destruction of the Indian economy, with deepening recession, is pushing crores of our people into joblessness, escalating the levels of poverty and hunger. The run-away inflation and price rise is adding to people’s woes and destroying livelihoods,” it said.
Noting that the “historic struggle” by farmers against three farm laws continues into the ninth month now, the leaders accused the government of being “obdurate”.
“We reiterate our support to the struggle launched by the farmers under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha,” the statement said.
It said the procuring of “Pegasus Military Spyware for surveillance of people by Government of India is extremely alarming”.
“The government refuses to answer one straight question – has it, or any of its agencies purchased the Pegasus Spyware from the Israeli firm – NSO, known for cyber military surveillance? The government must answer and come clean. Such surveillance is not only a gross violation of people’s fundamental right to privacy but is an attack on Indian democracy and democratic institutions,” the statement said.
It said the “list of those under surveillance include political leaders, journalists, a former Supreme Court Judge and officers of the judiciary, a former Prime Minister, a former CBI Chief, a former Election Commissioner, two former Chief Ministers and others. This is ominous. Global media exposures show that such surveillance was rampant in 2019 on the eve of the general elections to Parliament.”
The leaders said that the destruction of the economy is accompanied “by a mega loot of our national assets, large-scale privatization of the public sector, including banks and financial services the privatization of our mineral resources and public utilities to benefit the cronies of Prime Minister”.
“This will be strongly resisted,” they said.
In her opening remarks, Sonia Gandhi said that the ultimate goal is defeating the BJP-led government in 2024 Lok Sabha elections and called for systematic planning and working with the single-minded objective for the purpose.
She called for collectively rising to the challenge of opposition unity, saying there is no alternative to working cohesively and the time has come for rising above compulsions in the national interest.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and RJD’ Tejashwi Yadav were among those who attended the meeting.

Strategy against Modi government to be finalised in opposition meeting today, says Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi [India]: A virtual meeting of top opposition leaders to finalise a ‘common Strategy against Modi government’ and to raise several issues related to the public, including price rise, Pegasus snooping, COVID-19 mismanagement, unemployment and economic slowdown is scheduled for Friday. The meeting would be chaired by Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi. Speaking to ANI, Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury affirmed that he would be joining the meeting of opposition leaders called by Sonia Gandhi.
“We will discuss and finalise the strategy to raise the problems faced by the general public and the issues that the government did not allow to discuss in the monsoon session of the Parliament that concluded recently,” Yechury said.
“We have to take up the issues related to the common man. The questions are about COVID-19 mismanagement, shortage of vaccine, economic slowdown, unemployment, hunger, price hike of essential commodities, the farmers issue, government privatisation policy and Pegasus snooping row. All these questions were to be discussed in the Parliament and the government did not allow the discussion so, we will go to the public regarding all these issues,” Yechury elaborated.
The CPI(M) General Secretary further told ANI that in the opposition meeting, scheduled for today, the leaders will discuss and finalise a common strategy to go in public with and to expose the Modi government’s “real face”.
Today, opposition leaders will be meeting virtually under the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and top leaders, including three Chief Ministers, including Mamta Banerjee CM of West Bengal, Uddhav Thackeray CM of Maharashtra, and M K Stalin CM of Tamil Nadu. NCP President Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI General Secretary D Raja, among others are expected to join the meeting.
The meeting is a part of the Congress party’s efforts to unite various opposition parties on key issues to set the platform to defeat BJP in the upcoming assembly elections in 5 states.
In the recently concluded monsoon session of the Parliament, opposition parties displayed unity, leading to disruption of both Houses. The opposition leaders had given several Suspension of Business notices, Adjournment Motion Notice and had sought a discussion on the Pegasus snooping row, along with the farm laws and other issues.
Today’s meeting is being held in the backdrop of the government demanding strict action against those who indulged in unruly behaviour in the Upper House during the passing of the Insurance Amendment Bill.

“Anarchy is the only agenda of Opposition”

Solan (Himachal Pradesh) [India]: In the ongoing Jan Ashirwad Yatra, Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday slammed Opposition parties and said that their agenda is spreading anarchy even in the Parliament.
Addressing the public in Solan, Thakur said, “Anarchy, anarchy and only anarchy from the street to Parliament is the only agenda of the Opposition. Neither do they have an interest in public welfare nor do they value taxpayer’s money. The dignity of constitutional values has never been bothered by them.” Later, in Solan, the workers of Bharatiya Janata Mahila Morcha tied rakhi to Anurag Thakur and gave best wishes.
Earlier today, the Union Minister visited Dharampur in Himachal Pradesh.
Addressing the general public there, Thakur said, “Whenever Himachal got an opportunity, everyone contributed in its development. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and now added Sabka Prayas for us to unite and move forward.”
Taking about the ongoing vaccination drive to prevent the spread of the pandemic, the minister said, “Himachal Pradesh has done an excellent job as far as the Covid vaccination status is concerned and all the credit for this goes to the hard work, dedication and loyalty of our health workers.”
Before this, Thakur visited Parwanoo area of Himachal Pradesh. He recalled the purpose of his visit and said, “five days of this Jan Ashirvad Yatra. Its purpose is to reach the policies of PM Modi’s government to the people and seek their blessings. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas is the main motto of this visit.”

Sonia Gandhi to meet opposition leaders

New Delhi [India]: As part of efforts to take forward the opposition unity displayed during the monsoon session of parliament, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has called a virtual meeting of like-minded opposition leaders on August 20, sources said.
The meeting will be held at 4 pm. The sources said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackrey, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin are among the leaders who will take part in the meeting.
The opposition parties forced repeated adjournments during the monsoon session of parliament on their demands including a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware and repeal of farm bills. The session was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before its scheduled conclusion.
Mamata Banerjee visited the national capital in the last week of July and discussed opposition unity with Sonia Gandhi as part of efforts to build momentum against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government which has completed two years in office in its second term.

“Opposition’s aggression justified”

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday said that the “aggression” by the Opposition parties in the Monsoon session of Parliament was just because the ruling BJP did not allow any discussion over the issues like Pegasus.
Briefing media persons, Owaisi said, “It becomes very tough when the parliament does not work in the way it should work. Being an MP, it feels like we are unable to expose the mistakes of the government, despite having the responsibility to expose and bring in front of the government their mistakes. The government itself is happy when the Parliament does not work in the way it should work.” He alleged that instead of conducting a debate over the issue, the Centre, using its majoritarian power in the House had only ensured that the government bills are passed.
“The aggression of the Opposition in this Parliamentary Session is just because the BJP is not ready to discuss issues like Pegasus,” stated the AIMIM chief.
Owaisi further said that during the passing of the NCBC bill, both the Opposition and the government joined hands just because of the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh. He questioned why are the other issues that have been raised in the parliament are ignored.
“Is the development of the country lies only in the elections and not on the healthy debates in the Parliament where the opposition can question the ruling party about their deeds. BJP has forgotten the base purpose of the parliamentary sessions. Instead of conducting debates on important issues, BJP is only running the parliament as per their will,” alleged the AIMIM chief.
He further alleged that since BJP came to power, it has set aside the separation of powers in the Parliament. “The government is not ready to listen to the criticism by the Opposition in the House,” added Owaisi.

Manhandling of Opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha nothing short of murder of democracy, says Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged Members of Parliament (MPs) from Opposition parties were manhandled and beaten inside Rajya Sabha for the first time in history.
Speaking at Jantar Mantar during a protest by the Opposition over the demand to repeal the three farm laws, the Congress leader said the incident was “nothing short of murder of democracy”. “They don’t let us talk in Parliament. Yesterday, for the first time in the history of our country, members of the Rajya Sabha were manhandled and physically beaten. This was nothing short of murder of democracy,” said the Wayanad MP.
He further alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committing atrocities on farmers. “He (PM Modi) is snatching things from farmers what is rightfully theirs. He calls farmers anti-national and Khalistanis,” he added.
Earlier speaking at Vijay Chowk during the protest march, the Congress leader said the voice of 60 per cent of the people in the country was “crushed and humiliated”.
Opposition parties on Thursday held a protest march against the three farm laws introduced by the Central government last year. The march began from Parliament and concluded at Vijay Chowk.
Ahead of the protest march, Opposition leaders also held a meeting at the office of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to discuss the alleged manhandling of women members in the Upper House yesterday.
During the recently-concluded monsoon session of Parliament, the Opposition forced adjournments in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over their demands including repeal of three farm laws and probe into allegations of surveillance using Pegasus spyware.

‘Opposition’s misbehaviour disgraceful’

New Delhi [India]: The Centre on Thursday slammed the Opposition for its unruly behaviour in the Rajya Sabha, terming it as an assault on the dignity of the institution, adding that their misbehaviour is a shameful disgrace in the Parliamentary History of India.
The remarks came at a press conference today in New Delhi which was attended by Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prahlad Joshi, Bhupendra Yadav, Anurag Singh Thakur, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan. The ministers stated that it is rather unfortunate that the opposition MPs are not even apologetic about their actions. Rather they are considering these shameful actions as acts of valour, they said.
They further said, “Deplorable actions by opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have become a norm. Their actions in this session were not an exception but a continuation. From tearing of the rule book last year to the opposition indulging in most unparliamentary conducts ever witnessed by this House, the conduct of opposition is becoming shameful day by day.”
The Ministers pointed out that the opposition had publicly stated that the session should be washed out, adding that their intention was to not let the house conduct business. In fact, the Government had offered discussions on several occasions. However, appeals for discussions fell on deaf ears and they even took papers from the hands of the Minister and tore them, said the ministers. Even the Prime Minister was not allowed to introduce the Newly sworn In Council of Ministers, they added.
According to the ministers, some Opposition members desecrated the sanctity of the House by climbing the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagriha), namely the table located at the well of the House and threw the Rule Book at the Chair.
They stated that the Member of Parliament who stood on the table in the Parliament was not only standing on the table but was trampling upon Parliamentary ethics. He was not only throwing a book at the chair but was also throwing Parliamentary conduct out of the House, informed the Union Ministers.
“Such behaviour is unprecedented in our House and the opposition has done grievous harm to the reputation of the house,” they said.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal while briefing the media today said that opposition has misbehaved throughout the session only because they do not want issues of public welfare to be discussed.
“It is demanded that strict action should be taken on the shameful and obstructive behaviour of the Opposition. They wanted to create Opposition unity to foster national disunity. They owe answers to the nation,” said Goyal.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs said, “The Opposition questions over bills being passed in din. However, it is their refusal to allow parliamentary debate that has left no choice. From merely shouting, they have shifted to violence and manhandling staff to disrupt the parliamentary process. Also, where was this concern about passage without discussion when numerous bills were passed in din during the UPA rule? Between 2006 and 2014, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA 1 and 2) government passed a total of 18 Bills in a hasty manner.”
The Ministry stated that despite the highest disruption since 2014, the number of bills passed per day during this session in Rajya Sabha was the 2nd highest since 2014 (i.e. 1.1 bills per day passed).
The time lost due to interruptions/adjournments (till Aug 11) was 76 Hours 26 Minutes and the highest average time per day lost due to interruptions/adjournments since the 231st session of Rajya Sabha in 201 was 4 Hours 30 Minutes, it said.
The ministry stated that despite all the chaos and disruption, 19 Bills were passed in Rajya Sabha (including the Constitutional Amendment on OBC reservation), which are in the national interest and will benefit the poor, OBCs, workers, entrepreneurs, and all sections of our society.
This reflects the commitment, productivity and ability of the Govt to drive the legislative agenda in the Parliament, which aims to fulfil the aspirations of its citizens, said the ministry, adding that it will shape the future of our country. The government successfully carried out the government business during the session, it added.

Protest in front of Gandhi Statue

New Delhi [India]: The MPs of Opposition parties will hold a protest against the alleged manhandling of women members in Rajya Sabha in front of the Mahatma Gandhi Statue at Parliament today.
Before the protest, the floor leaders of Opposition parties in both the Houses will hold a meeting in the Chamber of Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha at 10 am to discuss the incidents that happened in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Opposition members in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday slammed the government over the incidents in the House when a bill related to insurance businesses was taken up for passage with NCP leader Sharad Pawar alleging that “women MPs were attacked” and “more than 40 men and women were brought into the house from outside to control the MPs”.
Pawar termed the incidents as “painful” and an “attack on democracy” and said he has never seen such an incident in his 55 years of parliamentary life.
Several other opposition members including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Derek O’ Brien also slammed the government.
“In my 55 years of parliamentary career, I never saw the way the women MPs were attacked today in Rajya Sabha. More than 40 men and women were brought into the house from outside to control the MPs. It is painful. It is an attack on democracy,” Pawar said.
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi criticised the government alleging that the government talks of ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Padhao’ but attempts to crush the voice of women.
She alleged that MPs were manhandled.
“The way the Insurance Bill was passed was not right. We all were protesting because it is an anti-people bill. This will lead to privatisation. The way women MPs were manhandled and MPs were treated like goons, they were pushed and they were threatened to remain silent, is shameful. This is my first term. I was hoping to raise people’s voices in Parliament, but the Government made attempts to crush that too. On one hand, you say Beti Padhao, Beti Padhao and on the other hand, they make attempts to crush their voices,” Chaturvedi said.
Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said marshals were used and Opposition women members were “manhandled”.He said if women are not safe in the Parliament, it raises questions on the way this government functions.
“Today the government’s behaviour in the Rajya Sabha was inappropriate. It was decided that the bill will be discussed tomorrow and today we will focus on the OBC reservation Bill and pass Constitutional Amendment Bill. Unfortunately, they did not keep their promise and they moved the Insurance Bill today. All the Opposition parties protested because it will take away the jobs of many people and increase unemployment. Also, the money with the government’s insurance companies is going somewhere else and they are planning to divert that money,” Kharge said.
“When the MPs were protesting, marshals were used and our women members were physically manhandled. You can yourself take an idea that if the women are not safe in the Parliament, then how this government might be functioning,” he added.
Derek O’Brien accused the government of “bulldozing” 36 bills without any discussion or scrutiny.
“Sharad Pawarji has said that in his 55 years of experience as a Parliamentarian, both in Opposition and in government, he has never witnessed something like this. Today’s incident was shameful. Only one bill was discussed. It’s a shame,” he said.
The Opposition resorted to vociferous protests on Wednesday as the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 was taken up for consideration in the upper House after it passed a constitution amendment bill unanimously.
The bill was moved for consideration and passing by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Protesting opposition members came to the well of the House and some of them were seen tearing papers.
They accused the government of not following parliamentary norms and “bulldozing” the legislation. The Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill was taken up after the upper House unanimously passed the constitution amendment bill to enable states to prepare their own OBC lists.
The opposition has also been protesting and forcing adjournments on their other demands including a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware and repeal of new farm laws.
Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before the scheduled conclusion of the upper House of Parliament. Lok Sabha has adjourned sine die earlier in the day.

Monsoon session: Floor leaders of opposition parties to meet today

New Delhi [India]: A meeting of the floor leaders of Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, however, the government sources said that as all bills are through, it is expected that the Monsoon session will be adjourned sine die today.
The meeting will be held at the Chamber of Leader of Opposition of Rajya Sabha at 10 am today. Earlier on Tuesday, the Lok Sabha passed the 127th Constitution amendment bill to restore the state’s power to make their own other backward classes (OBC) list after the participation of all political parties in the debate for the first time during this monsoon session.
“Almost all of our bills are through and the rest will be cleared in Rajya Sabha tomorrow as well. We will see how business goes. We expect the opposition to remain adamant about stalling the parliament. We may wrap up the work and the parliament may be adjourned sine die on Wednesday,” added a source.
The sources stated that the government is mulling adjournment as there is no point in running the House when business is sought to be disrupted and the opposition is not letting others debate or discussion on issues of public importance. “Also, a lot of money is going down the drain,” said the source.
“However, the dominant feeling is that the House is going to be adjourned. The final decision will depend upon the work undertaken on Wednesday,” added the source.

‘Govt. being arrogant’

New Delhi [India]: Opposition parties on Wednesday said they were “firm and united” on their demand for a discussion on the Pegasus issue and noted that the responsibility for the deadlock in parliament “lies squarely” with the government, which remains “arrogant and obdurate”.
In a joint statement by leaders of Congress and 13 other opposition parties, they said the opposition has also unequivocally conveyed that the discussion on the farmers’ issues and “agitations arising from the three anti-farmers and black agri-laws” should follow the discussion on Pegasus. The statement said it is unfortunate that the government has unleashed a misleading campaign to malign the combined opposition and was blaming it for the continued disruption in the Parliament.
“The opposition parties stand firm and united on their demand for a discussion on Pegasus issue in both the Houses, replied to by the Home Minister, as this has national security dimensions,” the statement said.
“The responsibility for the deadlock lies squarely at the doorsteps of the government, which remains arrogant and obdurate and refuses to accept the opposition’s demand for an informed debate in both the houses,” it added.
The opposition parties said they once again urge the government “to respect parliamentary democracy and accept the discussions”.
The statement has been issued by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Anand Sharma, DMK’s TR Balu, Samajwadi Party’s Ramgopal Yadav, TMC’s Derek O’ Brien and Kalyan Banerjee, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Vinayak Raut, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, RJD’s Manoj Jha, CPI-M’s Elamaram Kareem, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sushil Gupta, IUML’s ET Mohd. Basheer, National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi, CPI’s Binoy Viswam, RSP’s NK Premachandran and LJD’s MV Shreyams Kumar.

‘Opposition trying to hijack Proceedings’

New Delhi [India]: Slamming the Opposition parties, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday alleged that they are trying to hijack the proceedings of Parliament on the basis of fake and fabricated tales.
Speaking to ANI, Naqvi said, “There has been no rush in passing bills. Discussions have taken place in the Business Advisory Committee. Bills are circulated…Circulars are issued 48 hours in advance…It goes to all the members, which comes after writing in the business. But the problem is if you (Opposition party members) stay in the well instead of discussing or participating in the debate. May God give wisdom to the Opposition.” “We want the Opposition to debate or discuss the bills or any issue they want. But if you are in the well, then how will the bills get passed. The Opposition’s attempt to hijack the proceedings of Parliament is wrong. You should abide by the complete system of Parliament and participate in the debate and discussions,” added the union minister.
The BJP leader alleged that the Opposition is trying to disrupt the proceedings of the House on the basis of fake and fabricated tales.
Asked about TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen’s suspension for the remaining period of the Monsoon session, Naqvi said, “The Chairman will take his decision. The issue on which you have been creating a ruckus for so long when the IT Minister Ashwini ji was giving a statement on the matter… then there was the opportunity to raise questions. Instead, the TMC MP tore the papers. It is clear that their issue is far away from logic and facts. They are trying to disrupt the proceedings of the House on the basis of fake and fabricated tales.”
TMC MP Santanu Sen on July 23 snatched the statement on Pegasus matter from Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Rajya Sabha and tore it into pieces.
Following this, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had suspended TMC MP Santanu Sen for the remaining period of the ongoing Monsoon session.

Rahul Gandhi invites parties for breakfast meeting to discuss Opposition’s strategy over Pegasus issue

The opposition has been demanding a discussion in Parliament on the Pegasus row and its leaders have been giving adjournment notices every day. 

New Delhi , india, august 2 : Amid the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has invited leaders of opposition parties to a breakfast meeting. The meeting will take place at the Constitution Club on Tuesday. Opposition leaders are likely to chalk out a joint strategy on the Pegasus snooping issue.

The meeting is being held to forge unity among the opposition ranks on the issue. All opposition MPs and floor leaders of various parties have been invited to the meeting.

Rahul’s invitation for breakfast has been sent to 14 parties — NCP, Shiv Sena, TMC, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI, CPM, RJD, IUML, RSP, DMK, Samajwadi Party, National Conference, KCM and VCK. Notably, TMC has skipped all meetings convened by Rahul Gandhi so far.

The opposition has been demanding a discussion in Parliament on the Pegasus row and its leaders have been giving adjournment notices every day. The government has been saying that the opposition is creating a “non-issue” and the IT Minister has already given a reply in both Houses of Parliament.

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