Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Telangana Bill passed

Lok Sabha passed Telangana Bill on 18/2/2014. Rajya Sabha passed Telangana Bill on 20/2/2014. In preceding days MPs opposed to formation of Telangana had disrupted proceedings. In Lok Sabha Lagadapati Rajagopal had sprayed pepper. His act brought into prominence his connection to Lanco, Lanco’s 36,558 crore rupees debt and corporate debt restructuring. N. Kiran Kumar Reddy sat on dharna at Jantar Mantar. He resigned as chief minister after Lok Sabha passed the bill. Jaganmohan Reddy said Indian National Congress has become Italian National Congress. Delhi became battleground for and against Telangana. At last the government decided to act tough. Meira Kumar suspended trouble makers. There was black out of Lok Sabha.
Some condemned black out. They called it murder of democracy and worse than emergency. They are wrong. There is no law that says there has to be live uninterrupted telecast of Lok Sabha proceedings. Murder of democracy is when MPs do not let the Houses to function. Journalists were present in press gallery and they witnessed and reported Lok Sabha proceedings.
DD used to telecast parliamentary proceedings. Lok Sabha TV came into existence when Somnath Chatterjee became Speaker. Rajya Sabha TV came into existence when Hamid Ansari became Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
In Rajya Sabha tourism minister Chiranjeevi spoke against the bill. Arun Jaitley raised a point of order and asked whether it was permissible for a minister to speak against a bill the presence of prime minister. Deputy Chairman P. J. Kurien ruled that he left it to the minister to decide it was ethical or not. TMC members shouted slogans when Manmohan Singh spoke. CPI(M), DMK, JD(U) and BJD members walked out during the discussion.
Some Telangana leaders said it was not division but demerger. There was Telangana state which was merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956. They are not exactly right. There was Hyderabad state which consisted of Telangana and some Kannada and Marathi districts. Kannada districts went to Mysore which changed its name to Karnataka in 1973. Marathi districts went to Bombay which was split into Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960. Telangana could have been a separate state in 1956 or could have continued as Hyderabad state without Kannada and Marathi districts.
Many politicians opposed Telangana because they had property in Hyderabad. They wanted Hyderabad to be a Union Territory. For most people of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, separation of Telangana will not make any difference.
Making Hyderabad joint capital for 10 years with the Governor having law and order powers in Hyderabad is a bad idea. BJP should have raised the issue in Lok Sabha. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana should have separate capitals, Governors, and High Courts.
There are many statehood demands in India. People who want statehood for Gorkhaland, VIdarbha, Harit Pradesh, Bundelkhand etc are likely to hold demonstrations in Delhi. Mayawati has demanded division of Uttar Pradesh in four states. When she was chief minister of UP, Legislative Assembly of UP had thrice passed resolutions for division.

Arvind Kejriwal resigns

On 14/2/2014 BJP and Congress opposed tabling of Jan Lokpal Bill in Delhi Legislative Assembly. Their excuse was Lieutenant Governor had not permitted it. There were 27 votes in favour of the bill and 42 against. Arvind Kejriwal had said if Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed he will resign. AAP was born on the issue of fighting corruption and Jan Lokpal Bill was an important promise in AAP manifesto. Arvind Kejriwal said FIR against Mukesh Ambani was the reason Congress and BJP joined together publicly to oppose Jan Lokpal Bill. Around 8 p.m. he addressed AAP members. He said there was nothing unconstitutional about the bill. Those who say we wanted permission of Central Government are lying. Central Government behaves like they are from London. Lieutenant Governor behaves as if he is Viceroy. He was ready to sacrifice chief minister’s chair a hundred times for Lokpal. He is ready to die for the country. How is fight against corruption unconstitutional? He mentioned his government’s achievements. What MPs did in Parliament in previous day BJP and Congress MLAs did in Delhi Assembly. He was going to meet the Lieutenant Governor to submit resignation. Delhi Legislative Assembly should be dissolved and fresh elections ordered.
AAP had to come to power on 28/12/2013. It did many things differently. It ordered CAG audit of power distribution companies. It fulfilled promises of water supply and reducing electricity tariffs. Corruption disappeared to a great extent. It failed cases in Commonwealth Games scam and other matters. Ministers did not use beacons. They did not live in government bungalows.
Soli Sorabjee, Dushyant Dave, and some lawyers had said AAP Government did not need Lieutenant Governor’s permission to introduce legislation in Delhi Legislative Assembly. Ashutosh had called LG Najeeb Jung a Congress agent and was associated with Reliance.
AAP did not achieve many of its objectives. Delhi Police is not under Delhi Government. Delhi did not get statehood. Without control over police Arvind Kejriwal could not have maintained law and order in Delhi. By going on dharna Arvind Kejriwal made it clear police was not under him and he should not be blamed for murders, rapes, and other crimes.
You do not win fight against corruption by dying. You have to make the corrupt die. Arvind Kejriwal should know that.
Some channels had turned hostile to AAP. NewsX was hostile from the beginning. Headlines Today turned against AAP. The nation wants to know why Arnab Goswami turned against AAP after his interview of Rahul Gandhi? What happened? Did Robert Vadra arrange the interview? Did it take place in Jawahar Bhavan? Was Priyanka Gandhi present during the interview? CNN-IBN is under Mukesh Ambani.
Lok Sabha elections are close. Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders are free to contest them. The target is 272 seats. They have declared some candidates.

Anarchy in Parliament

For decades MPs have disrupted Parliament. Anarchy in Parliament is a regular feature. Sessions get washed out. Presiding officers i.e., Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha have failed in their duties. MPs who should be suspended are allowed to disrupt houses. Sometimes foreign delegates are present to witness how Indian Parliament functions and they go back by witnessing anarchy.
On 13/2/2014 Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal sprayed pepper in Lok Sabha. The house was adjourned. Some MPs had to be taken to hospital. What next? An MP coming with AK-47 and shooting fellow MPs and walking out? Three decades back in Inquilab, Amitabh Bachchan played a chief minister who shoots all his ministers.
Besides Rajagopal there were other MPs who engaged in vandalism in Lok Sabha. Later Speaker Meira Kumar under rule 374A suspended 16 MPs for next five consecutive sittings. The suspended MPs were Anantha Venkatarammi Reddy, A. Sai Pratap, Gutha Sukehnder Reddy, K. G. Reddy, Lagadapati Rajagopal, R. Sambasiva Rao, M. Sreenivasulu Reddy, Sabbam Hari, V. Aruna Kumar of Congress; K. Narayana Rao, Modugula Venugopala Reddy, Nimmala Kristappa, Nirmalli Sivaprasad of TDP; and M. Rajamohan Reddy, S. P. Y. Reddy, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy of YSR Congress.
Arun Jaitley said “What has happened in Parliament has brought a bad name to Indian democracy.” Meira Kumar said “This has shamed us. Our parliamentary democracy is admired throughout the world.” Sushma Swaraj said “Whatever happened, it has crossed all limits.”
Indian democracy had a bad name for a long time. If there was admiration it was by ignorant people. Limits are crossed every time there is adjournment due to disruption.
L. Rajagopal committed a crime by injuring others. FIR must be registered against him. Those who damaged Lok Sabha property should be asked to pay for damage.
Purno Albert Sangma once said when he was Speaker he never adjourned the house. Meira Kumar used rule 374A to suspend MPs. That means that rule could have been used by her and other Speakers before and they did not use it. They are guilty.
Leaders have lost moral authority by asking party members to disrupt. Opposition members disrupting is bad. Ruling members disrupting is worse. Once when Sushma Swaraj spoke Sonia Gandhi told her party members not to allow her to speak. Congress members stood up and shouted. Among them was Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath whose responsibility was it to see Parliament functions without disruptions.
BJP stand is ambivalent. They say they want the house to function but do not want marshals. BJP cannot have it both ways.
What did Pranab Mukherjee do when he was leader of the house to put an end to anarchy in Lok Sabha? What has he done as President to end anarchy in Parliament? He has taken oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Under Article 86 did he address or send messages to both Houses of Parliament not to disrupt proceedings and throw out any member who disrupts? He did not. He can and he should.

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