by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
When Venkaiah Naidu offered to quit
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu stunned the leaders of all parties when they assembled in his chamber in Rajya Sabha soon after the House was adjourned within minutes of its meeting in the morning. He created a flutter when he told Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that he would not brook any indiscipline in the House and if leaders are not satisfied by his style of conducting the House, they are “free to elect a new Chairman.” There was a pin drop silence in Naidu's chamber who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Jaitley was pleading with Naidu long with other leaders that he should be lenient and allow members to vent their feelings rather than adjourning the house for the day within minutes of his meeting. The leaders reminded Naidu that he himself had been part of this process for several decades and such venting and rhetoric by Mps is part of the parliamentary practices. But Naidu firmly told them,”Yes, I have been part of it and seen it for decades. But this is not the way the House to function. The Mps should allow the house to run in a proper and disciplined manner and set an example. If they want to make noise, then house is not the forum. They are free to do it outside. I cannot allow this and if you are not agreeable to it, you better elect a new chairman.” There was silence of the grave and the meeting ended. Since then, Naidu has been adjourning the House immediately after members troop into th well of the house. When the matter was discussed with the PM and BJP chief Amit Shah, they shrugged it off saying its between the chair and the members.
Is BJP scared of Lok Sabha bye-polls ?
It was expected that Lok Sabha bye-polls will be announced for at least three Lok Sabha constituencies - Kairana in UP and Gondiya-Bhandara and Palghar in Maharashtra along with the Karnataka Assembly polls. The Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra fell vacant three months ago and Kairana seat fell vacant in February after the death of sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh. The bye-poll for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in J&K is not being held due to security reasons and Nagaland bye-poll can wait as Chief Minister Rio has not quit his seat as yet. The Election Commission's decision not to hold bye-polls in Maharashtra and Kairana surprised the Opposition and some even blame the EC for playing into the hands of the ruling BJP. Sources in the BJP say technically, Kairana bye-poll still has four months to go. Even the bye-polls for two Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra will fall due only in June-July. Insiders say that the BJP doesn't want to test the ground in these bye-polls in UP & Maharashtra as defeat is staring it. Better delay it on one ground or the other and hold it along with the three state Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh in December.
Rahul in no hurry for new CWC
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is playing safe. Rather than over-hauling the party in one go he has adopted a slow & steady approach. He is picking up new PCC chiefs in states selectively and deferred the re-constitution of the all powerful Congress Working Committee. It now transpires that the move has been deferred until the polls for the Karnataka Assembly. While the old CWC has become defunct with the election of the new president, Rahul Gandhi has decided to continue with the old body. He intends to induct a couple of members without touching the old body, at least for now. Perhaps, the scion of the Gandhi family doesn't want to kick up a row by sending oldies out and infuse new blood into the CWC.
Now “Bal Divas” under BJP scanner
November 14, the birthday of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is celebrated by children across the country as “Children's Day”. But even that may be a thing of the past if a proposal mooted by BJP Mps in accepted by the government. BJP's Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, a Lok Sabha MP from Delhi has initiated a move that the practice of observing November 14 as Bal Divas be abandoned. Instead, the Children's Day be celebrated on December 20 when the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh were bricked alive after the outer wall of the fort was pulled down and his two sons were made to stand in the gap thus created. The signature drive is going at a full speed and the BJP M Ps intend to give a memorandum to the Prime Minister in this regard.
Modi's poser make ministers run for a cover
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the immense capacity to surprise his Cabinet colleagues. At a recent Cabinet meeting he tossed a question to his Cabinet Ministers if they are aware of printing presses functioning under their respective ministries and departments. No one had a clue as to why the question was raised and none of them had a ready answer. They had no idea either about the existence of printing presses under their ministries. Modi issued a sermon that details of all the printing presses be sent to his office within a week and as soon as the information landed, directions came within the next 24 hours. Modi wanted that all printing presses be merged and modernized. It was discovered that there are as many as 17 Government of India Presses (GIPs) including three Text Book Printing Presses (TBPs) located at Mysuru, Chandigarh & Bhubaneswar are functioning. No one had a clue about their performance and outcome. It was decided that all be merged into five and modernized with state of the art printing technology. The PMO was worried over the rising cost of contract work given to outside agencies at a hefty price. It was directed that all ministries must shut down their printing presses and only five such will remain functional. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was given a free hand to over see 14 printing presses under his ministry. Goyal announced that all its printing presses will be shut down. But he had a tough time as two major employees unions raised a banner of revolt alleging that the move is paving the way for handing over prime land to private players for commercial exploitation. He had a tough time in persuading the unions to agree to the transition to digital services with increasingly less requirement of paper-based communication. He also promised that the staff working at these units will be retained and redeployed with new training. Modi goes into every detail and Ministers do everything to make the boss happy. !