Maharashtra Voice Vote: SOUNDS OF volatility …

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel November 15, 2014 13:02

Maharashtra Voice Vote: SOUNDS OF volatility …

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Maharashtra Voice Vote

SOUNDS OF volatility

By Insaf

Maharashtra does not spell good omen for the BJP. And, worse the party knows it. The controversy over its floor test in the Assembly through a voice vote on Wednesday last is the first sign. While there is no denying that the Fadnavis-led minority government would have won its vote of confidence, thanks to the NCP, its shying away from a division vote and not having the numbers in and against its favour be out in the open has raised eyebrows about how stable it would be. Having failed to get the Shiv Sena on its side, which now sits in the Opposition, its realisation that it is wholly and solely dependent on the NCP, which it had termed as the ‘National Corrupt Party’, puts the party in an awkward position. Will it be able to carry its mandate of giving a ‘stable and clean’ Government? In all probability, no. And, this is what the Shiv Sena and the Congress are going to hound it for. The two obviously made the right beginning. Their demand for a division was turned down by the Speaker leading to ruckus on day one. Five Congress MLAs have been suspended for two years and the BJP is asking for more. The Sena has accused the BJP of “strangling democracy’ and the Congress claimed that the continuance of the Fadnavis government is “unconstitutional.” The two have threatened they would not allow any business to be conducted till a fresh trust vote is obtained. While that is not going to happen, there hangs a big question mark whether the BJP will be able to complete its full five-year term. Every move is going to be watched.

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Gujarat’s Voting Law

Has Gujarat bitten more than it can chew? It has become the first State in the country which makes voting compulsory in institutions of local self-governance—municipal corporations, municipalities and district, taluka and village panchayats. The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Act has finally got Governor O P Kohli’s nod after five years’ resistance from his predecessor Kamla Beniwal, on the grounds that forcing voters to compulsory voting violates Article 21 of the Constitution as it impinges on an individual’s liberty—the right of a citizen to exercise his/her choice, including the freedom not to vote. While the State Government could cite instances in the West where compulsory voting is in place because of low voter turnout, the same cannot apply to India, which has seen a steady rise in voting percentages in elections over the years. This apart, coercion of the voter should find no place in a vibrant democracy likes ours. All eyes are now on the Government, which has to put in place provisions such as punishment for the voter who defaults to make the law effective. Will it have a re-think or will the Act be challenged and eventually struck down for violating the basic freedom of expression? Better judgement should prevail.

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Fresh Gorkhaland Stir?

The movement for a separate Gorkhaland may not be passé. The seizure of a huge cache of sophisticated arms from the Assam-West Bengal border should make both New Delhi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sit up. According to intelligence reports, a section of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) youth cadres are alleged to be involved in getting the consignment from Nagaland which was to reach Darjeeling. Additionally, there are conflicting reports that some leaders in Darjeeling are trying to set up an armed group “Gorkha Liberation Army” or a new underground outfit “United Gorkha People’s Organisation.” However, with the GJM admitting to a split with a number of its Yuva Morcha leaders moving away from it, these reports may well turn out to be true. Indications are obviously that the Gorkha Territorial Administration has failed to deliver the people’s aspirations. Will the GJM meet the same fate as Subhas Ghising’s Gorkha National Liberation Front and the Darjeeling Hills go up on fire again? It’s time to act and fast.

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Chhattisgarh’s Man-Made Tragedy

Chhattisgarh’s sterilisation tragedy has sent shock waves across the country. The death of 13 women with 20 others critical among the 83 who underwent botched tubectomies at a free camp in Bilaspur district, have put the Raman Singh’s BJP Government in the dock. Prime Minister Modi, the NHRC, the High Court etc have expressed concern and sought action against the guilty. Not only was there criminal medical negligence by the doctor, but operation procedures and guidelines were thrown to the winds. For instance, 83 tubectomies were performed in just five hours whereas the rules state that no more than 30 can be done in a day! However, the larger question arises whether the free camp was primarily meeting government targets? So seems the case. It was organised by the district health department as part of the Centre’s family planning programme under which a woman gets Rs 1400 for undergoing the operation and the worker gets Rs 200 for each woman brought. Sadly, to have an impressive record the State has played with people’s lives. A re-look at the Centre’s programme begs attention of all States and New Delhi too.

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SC Advice to States

The Supreme Court has given States a cue to spare citizens and patients from doctors’ strike. Hearing a petition that sought to declare strikes called by doctors as illegal, a bench headed by Chief Justice Datta observed: “This (medical profession) is a noble service. God has created doctors to save life, being God’s agent they should not go on strike. We can express our desire. Beyond that a positive direction cannot be issued when we know it is difficult to implement our order…” However, it did make an appealing note– that State governments have a law, Essential Services Maintenance Act and if it is enforced then strikes are gone. So where was the question of it issuing directions? Indeed, the ball is in the State Governments court. If God’s agents don’t think about patients’ plight before calling for a strike, the administration should step in.

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Rajasthan’s ‘Missing’ Mystery

Rajasthan may well be elated with its tally going up in the Council of Ministers from one to three, but has it taken a beating when it comes to its administration efficiency? To the common man, the police ‘inability’ to issue court summons to Union Minister Nihal Chand Meghwal for the past three months speaks volumes about its competence. The police has informed a lower court in Jaipur that it cannot find Meghwal to serve him the summons in a case related to his alleged involvement in a rape case three years ago. The summons was issued in August and till date the Minister has gone ‘missing’ in the country’s capital! A simple visit to his office in Delhi first as Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers and now for Panchayati Raj would have solved the mystery. But obviously that’s not the intention. The BJP Government claims that Meghwal was framed by the previous Congress Government and his going ‘missing’ is good work done. But for how long?—INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel November 15, 2014 13:02