Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

New Parliament Building

India needs a New Parliament Building and that does mean demolishing the present Parliament House. New Parliament Building can be next to the present Parliament House or somewhere in Delhi or outside Delhi.
Lok Sabha should have at least one representative for a million people. As per census of 2011 India’s population was 121 crore. India should have at least 1210 members in Lok Sabha. The present building is not adequate to house them.
The present Parliament House was built by the British. It was designed by Herbert Baker in 1912. Construction began in 1921. Foundation stone was laid on 12 February 1921. It was known as Central Legislative Assembly. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, Viceroy and Governor General of India, better known as Lord Irwin, inaugurated the building on 18 January 1927. It had separate halls for Chamber of Princes, State Council, and Central Legislative Assembly. It was built for Colonial India and not Independent India. State Council (Council of States) was created by the Government of India Act 1919. It had 26 nominated members and 34 elected members. The number was increased to 260 in 1937. 156 were from provinces and 104 from princely states. Chamber of Princes was established in 1920. It lasted till 1947. Central Legislative Assembly was created by the Government of India Act 1919. It had 144 members, 103 elected, 41 nominated. The Government of India Act 1935 increased the number of seats but elections to them did not take place. Constituent Assembly dissolved Central Legislative Assembly on 14 August 1947.
When Meira Kumar was the Speaker she had set up a committee to suggest alternatives to the current building. Some MPs opposed change of building.
Now Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has suggested construction of new building saying the present structure shows signs of distress and not able to meet demand for space needed for MPs and staff. Once again there is opposition mainly because Constituent Assembly met in the Central Hall from 9 December 1946 to 26 November 1949 and Independent India’s first cabinet took oath of office in the Central Hall. Sumitra Mahajan should say the present structure will remain as it is and a new structure will be built for Parliament. That will satisfy most MPs. Present structure can be a museum and people can visit and see different halls.
At present there are 543 elected members in Lok Sabha and two nominated members. As per original Constitution constituencies or sears were to be revised after every census. In 1951-52 there were 489 seats. In 1957 and 1962 there were 494 seats. In 1967 and 1971 there were 520 seats. In 1977 there were 543 seats. In 1976 the Constitution was amended to freeze the number of constituencies till 2000 and in 2001 it was amended to freeze the number of constituencies till 2026. In 1971 India’s population was 54.7 crore. It was 68 crore in 1981, 85 crore in 1991, 102 crore in 2001 and 121 crore in 2011. Population has more than doubles. Number of constituencies also should have more than doubled. Parliament House not having enough space is the wrong reason for restricting number of constituencies. People are deprived of adequate representation.
It is time for MPs to get real and not be sentimental. The new Parliament building should provide for at least 1600 Lok Sabha members so that population growth in subsequent years is taken care of.

DDCA corruption

On 15/12/2015 CBI raided Delhi CM’s office.  It was officially or ostensibly regarding principal secretary Rajendra Kumar.  It was the first time a CM’s office was raided in India.  Arvind Kejriwal tweeted about the raid.  He said Narendra Modi was a coward and psychopath.  Some non-BJP politicians including Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar condemned the raid.  In the evening Kejriwal said CBI wanted DDCA file and the raid was protect Arun Jaitley.

BJP MP Kirti Azad, Bishen Singh Bedi and Sameer Bahadur talked about corruption in DDCA.  Opposition parties demanded Jaitley’s resignation.  AAP held press conferences against Jaitley.  Kejriwal announced Inquiry Commission to look into DDCA misdeeds.  Congress demanded Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate DDCA.  Bedi said cricket associations in North India are companies and they want to make profit.   Cricket associations in South India are societies.

On 20/12/2015 at 4 p.m. there was a press conference officially by Wikileaks4India and Sun Star newspaper.  Kirti Azad, Bishen Singh Bedi, Surinder Khanna and Sameer Bahadur were present.  There was a video presentation regarding payment to fake companies.  One part showed Kirti Azad arguing with Arun Jaitley about financial manual, bogus members, forged signatures and so on.  Parliament session was going on.  Kirti Azad had 52 questions for Jaitley.  It was embarrassing for BJP because its own MP was accusing its Finance Minister.

On 21/12/2015 Jaitley filed civil and criminal defamation cases.  The civil case was against Kejriwal for 10 crore rupees in Delhi High Court.  The criminal case was against Kejriwal, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chaddha and Deepak Bajpai under sections 499-502 of IPC in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.   Ram Jethmalani said he will fight for Kejriwal.  There was a question whether poor AAP can afford Jethmalani’s charge of 22 lakh rupees.  Jethmalani replied he charges in 10% cases and 90% cases he fights free.

There was demand for Jaitley’s resignation in Parliament.  Some said “Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.”  Jaitley had said the same thing about Manmohan Singh.

On 22/12/2015 at a meeting of BJP parliamentary party Modi said Jaitley is as pure as Advani.  He referred to Advani’s acquittal in Jain Hawala case.  Delhi Legislative Assembly had a session on DDCA.  Kejriwal demanded Modi’s resignation for ordering CBI raid to protect Jaitley.

On 23/12/2015 Parliament session got over and BJP suspended Kirti Azad for anti-party activities.  Azad asked how can fighting against corruption can be anti-party activity.  He had become member of BJP in 1992 when nobody wanted to touch it with a bargepole.  He said he will continue his crusade against corruption in sports and sports bodies.  Subramanian Swamy said he will help Kirti Azad to draft reply to the notice.

There was also talk of Jaitley’s association with Hockey India and his family benefitting from it.  It became known that Jaitley’s daughter Sonali was on two committees of Hockey India and his son-in-law was on two committees.

  1. P. S. Gill said Arun Jaitely being an advisor to Hockey India got his daughter appointed to legal committee and Hockey India paid an exorbitant amount to Sonali Jaitley towards retainership fee. The amount is said to be five and half crore rupees.

On 25/12/2015 Kirti Azad wrote to Amit Shah and demanded to know the instances of anti-party activities and proof.

For long Jaitley had defended other BJP members accused of corruption or impropriety.  Now he was at the receiving end.  BJP spokespersons and some BJP leaders defended him.

Jaitley is responsible for the files he signed when he was DDCA president.  The argument that he was not involved in day-to-day affairs and general secretary and treasurer carried out the functions is not good to absolve him of his responsibility.

DDCA was in a mess for a long time.  It was Delhi High Court that saved DDCA from forfeiting Test against South Africa.  Delhi High Court had appointed former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Mukul Mudgal to supervise the functioning of DDCA.  He has been quiet.

Donald Trump on Muslims

Donald John Trump is making news all over the world for his comments about Muslims. He said visas should not be issued to Muslims till a system is in place. He said some mosques should be under surveillance and there should be detention centres for Muslims. In London and Paris there are areas inhabited by Muslims where policemen fear to go. His statements were in the context of San Bernardino shooting on 2/12/2015 by married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.
Scotland said Trump will not be its business ambassador. Trump products were taken off shelves in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE. One university withdrew his doctorate. I did not know that university existed. Time nominated Angela Merkel as Person of the Year. Trump said he knew Time will not nominate him and they nominated someone for ruining Germany. Boris Johnson contradicted Trump. There was a petition in UK not to grant visa to Trump. UKIP supported Trump. David Cameron and French PM Dominic Valls opposed Trump.
Trump’s Republican rivals and many others condemned his statements. Some of them have just 1% votes in polls. There was wide publicity for such statements. Some people said something in support of Trump. Those statements did not get much publicity.
After the San Bernardino attack where a couple of Pakistani origin killed 14 persons and wounded many more, many welcome Trump’s statements. Trump is not politically correct. He says political correctness has gone too far. He wants to say things as they are. His supporters are glad. He leads in the polls.
Trump has justified his proposals by pointing such things have been done by former presidents. Franklin Roosevelt had put Japanese, German and Italian residents in USA in detention camps. Dwight Eisenhower had deported officially a million Mexicans. People said “I like Ike.” Ike was Eisenhower’s pet name. James Carter stopped issuing visas to Iranians.
Ever since Trump announced his candidature for Republican Presidential nominee he has dominated news except when there were terrorist attacks or some great events. At first his candidature was seen with amusement. Soon he ranked second in numbers. After that he has been first most time. Three of his rivals left the race: Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal. Other candidates have moved up and down. For long Ben Carson was close in numbers. Now Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio are close to him.
Trump said San Bernardino terrorists were animals. He was wrong. Comparing terrorists to animals is an insult to animals.
Someone said Trump rides on fear of Muslims and also adds to it. A survey conducted about Muslims showed most Americans agree with Trump. Trump knows the mind of the majority.
India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism of Pakistan. Occasionally USA is a target or victim of Pakistani terrorism. Times Square bomber was a Pakistani. Pakistanis were involved in World Trade Center attack that took place some years before 9/11. The attack mostly failed.
Boston bombers were Muslims who came from Dagestan. Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan was a son of Palestinian immigrants and psychiatrist in US army.
Some Muslims have a grouse that mass shootings by white male Christians are not referred to as terrorist acts but such acts by Muslims are referred to as terrorist acts. They have a point. They also resent calling San Bernardino shooting as the greatest act after 9/11 as there were many acts where more than 14 people had died.
Trump has supported Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel’s elections. He was to visit Israel on 28 December and meet Netanyahu. Netanyahu said “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.” He said he meets all presidential candidates who come to Israel and meeting does not meet endorsement. Israel does not fight ISIS. It assists ISIS against Syria. Trump said he will visit Israel at a later date after he became president of USA. Trump should be careful about Netanyahu’s bitch Kaiya which bit Sharren Haskel and Or Alon at Hanukka dinner.
India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was in Washington to Meet American Defence Secretary Ashton Carter. He was asked about Trump’s comments. He said “I will not comment on what has been talked about in the US, but as far as India is concerned, we have the second largest Muslim population in the world and we gel well.” Not long ago intolerance was a topic in India and many had returned their awards.
Sikhs in USA suffer collateral damage when there are hate crimes against Muslims. Many Americans cannot distinguish between Sikhs and Muslims. Sikh men wear turbans and keep beard. They resemble Arab Muslims who wear turbans and keep beard and have carried out terrorist acts. Gurudwaras are mistaken for mosques. Sikhs come under attack for what they are not.

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