BJP would scrap Article 370 after forming next govt: Shah

BJP would scrap Article 370 after forming next govt: Amit Shah

Hitting out at opposition leaders for being “unhappy” with air strikes on terror camps, BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday said his party would remove Article 370 from Kashmir “after forming the next BJP government” at the Centre.

Criticising West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for questioning the Balakot air strikes in a bid to “appease” the minority vote bank, Shah asked her to come clean on whether she, too, wants a separate PM for Kashmir, just like her ally and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.

BJP would scrap Article 370 after forming next govt: Shah

“Mamata Banerjee and opposition leaders are unhappy with the air strikes. They are questioning it just to appease their minority vote bank. But, I want to say it loud and clear that we won’t allow such forces to win.

“We would remove Article 370 from Kashmir after forming the next BJP government at the Centre,” he said, while campaigning for Darjeeling Lok Sabha candidate Raju Singh Bisht.

Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Shah also slammed Banerjee for trying to mislead the masses on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The BJP government would bring NRC across the country and grant citizenship to “each and every Hindu refugee” of the country, he asserted.

Criticising West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for questioning the Balakot air strikes in a bid to “appease” the minority vote bank, Shah asked her to come clean on whether she, too, wants a separate PM for Kashmir, just like her ally and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah. “Mamata Banerjee and opposition leaders are unhappy with the air strikes. They are questioning it just to appease their minority vote bank. But, I want to say it loud and clear that we won’t allow such forces to win. “We would remove Article 370 from Kashmir after forming the next BJP government at the Centre,” he said, while campaigning for Darjeeling Lok Sabha candidate Raju Singh Bisht.

-PTI | 11 April 2019 | Kailimpong (WB)

Rahul calls on Pawar to rev up anti-BJP Opp unity bid

Rahul calls on Pawar to rev up anti-BJP Opposition unity bid

The results of the recently completed bypolls in Utter Pradesh seemed to have set the tone for the Opposition unity with Congress president Rahul Gandhi calling on NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Wednesday night in order to step up efforts for a united front against the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The Rahul-Pawar meeting — within hours of the BJP’s defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls — is significant also because it came just two days after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s dinner for Opposition leaders. The feast was attended by leaders of 20 parties.

RahulRahul has highlighted the contribution of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and lauded his efforts in bringing the downtrodden and lower castes into the political mainstream. He described Kanshi Ram as a social reformer on his birth anniversary.

Rahul is likely to meet TMC president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee soon. Mamata is expected to attend a joint Opposition meet being hosted by Pawar on March 28.

The Rahul-Pawar meeting — within hours of the BJP’s defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls — is significant also because it came just two days after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s dinner for Opposition leaders. The feast was attended by leaders of 20 parties. Rahul has highlighted the contribution of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and lauded his efforts in bringing the downtrodden and lower castes into the political mainstream. He described Kanshi Ram as a social reformer on his birth anniversary. Rahul is likely to meet TMC president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee soon. Mamata is expected to attend a joint Opposition meet being hosted by Pawar on March 28

-PNS | 16 March 2018 | New Delhi

400 TMC members join BJP in Tripura

400 Trinamool Congress members including many TMC stalwarts join BJP in Tripura

TMC

 

It’s a big boost for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tripura and huge setback to Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC).

In a major development in the state politics, four hundred Trinamool Congress members, including 16 of the total 65 state committee members of the TMC, joined BJP on Thursday.

The TMC members who joined the saffron party also include former chairman of the Tripura unit of Trinamool Congress, Ratan Chakraborty.

The President of Tripura unit of BJP, Biplab Deb and Union minister of state for Railways, Rajen Gohain, jointly handed over the saffron party flag to Chakraborty.

“BJP is the only political party in the country, which attached maximum importance to develop the backward north eastern region. I have full confidence that BJP would be able to free the state from the clutches of CPI-M and form a government in the 2018 elections to give relief to the people,” Chakraborty told a press conference.

Stating that he joined BJP “unconditionally”, Chakraborty said, he would strengthen the party by bringing more TMC workers under the BJP banner.BJP “unconditionally”, Chakraborty said, he would strengthen the party by bringing more TMC workers under the BJP banner.

Nitai Chowdhuri, a state committee member of TMC, who joined the BJP said, altogether 16 members of the state committee of the total 65 have joined the BJP on Thursday.

Gohain said, “The BJP would get absolute majority in the 2018 state elections in Tripura and the ruling CPI-M would be washed away in a saffron tsunami.”

-March 23, 2017, Agartala

 

 

 

West Bengal to be renamed as`Bengal`

West Bengal to be renamed `Bengal` in English and ‘Bango’ or `Bangla` in Bengali

West Bengal to be renamed `Bengal` in English and 'Bango' or `Bangla` in Bengali

After Gurgaon and Bangalore, West Bengal is all set to get its new name.

The Mamata Banerjee government on Tuesday proposed to rename West Bengal as just “Bengal”, dropping “West” from its name.

Talking to media, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said: “For the sake of the people of the state, its heritage and culture as well as to promote and protect its interests at the national level, we have proposed to rename West Bengal as Bengal in English and ‘Bango’ or `Bangla` in Bengali.”

In Bengali, the state is currently referred to as “Paschim Banga” or “Paschim Bangla”.

Chatterjee said a special session of the Assembly will be convened to discuss the renaming of the state.

“The Assembly Session begins on August 26. We will put forth the proposal of renaming the state for discussions.”

“On August 29 and 30, we will discuss the issue and urge all to accept the new name,” added Chatterjee.

In 2011, the state government had sent a proposal to the Centre for renaming West Bengal as “Paschim Bango”, but that never got the green signal.

Another reason for changing the name of the state is that whenever there is any meeting of all states, West Bengal comes at the bottom of the list alphabetically.

“Our CM gets to speak last. There is little time left,” a minister pointed out.

Secretariat officials said changing the name would require an approval of Parliament.

-August 2, 2016, Kolkata

 

Mamata elected legislature party leader, stakes claim to form govt

Mamata elected legislature party leader, stakes claim to form govt

Mamata Banerjee, who spearheaded Trinamool Congress’ return to power with a massive mandate in Assembly polls, was today unanimously elected the leader of the party’s legislature group, setting the stage for her becoming Chief Minister for a second consecutive tenure. Banerjee will be sworn in on May 27.

TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee, who was re-elected from Behala Paschim seat, proposed Mamata Banerjee’s name for TMC LP leader which was seconded by all the newly-elected MLAs of the party at a meeting of the legislators here.

Banerjee later met Governor K N Tripathi at Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the new government. After meeting the Governor, Banerjee said “May 20 (today) is an auspicious day because it was on this day in 2011 our government took oath after the ‘poribortan’ (change)… So we have come to meet the Governor and give him a letter on behalf of our party.”

TMC leaders Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Subrata Bakshi, Saugata Roy and Mukul Roy accompanied her to Raj Bhavan. Banerjee, who met all newly-elected MLAs of the party at her residence, exhorted them to reach out to the people.

“At the meeting our leader Mamata Banerjee told us to reach out to the masses as their is no place for complacency. She said those who were defeated, lost due to their arrogance and advised us to be down to earth,” a TMC MLA who was present at the meeting said.

TMC sources said the party has decided that it would aim to play a deciding role in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“Our aim is now 2019 Lok Sabha polls, so our party leadership has decided that after this year’s Durga Puja, we will work towards that. Our leaders will frequently visit Delhi,” sources said.

-20 May 2016 | PTI | Kolkata

PM congratulates Jaya, Mamata on poll victories

PM congratulates Jaya, Mamata modion poll victories

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called up AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to congratulate them on the poll victories in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, respectively.
“Spoke to @MamataOfficial ji & congratulated her on the impressive victory. My best wishes to her as she begins her 2nd term,” he tweeted.
“Had a telephone conversation with Jayalalithaa ji and congratulated her on her victory. Also conveyed my best wishes to her,” Modi said in another tweet.
The Prime Minister’s tweets came as results of Assembly elections trickled in, showing that both AIADMK and Trinamool Congress were going to retain power in their respective states.
-19 May 2016 | PTI | New Delhi

Third Front. Now on, now off…- KG Suresh

Third Front. Now on, now off…

By- KG Suresh

Indian democracy has adequate space for a viable ‘third’ alternative or even an alternative in the first place if the Congress fails to take off. But it has to be ensured that such a front is evolved gradually, based on past experiences of the good and the bad

With Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar assuming charge as the national president of Janata Dal (United), prospects of the revival of the defunct Third Front idea has again become the talk of the town. Political observers have often compared the idea to a seasonal frog which appears ahead of general elections and disappears thereafter. Twice in the last two decades, the satraps of these non-Congress and non-BJP regional parties with divergent interests and ideologies, stitched up a rag-tag alliance and assumed power at the Centre, with outside support from the Congress. However, these coalitions remained politically unstable and eventually fell under the weight of their own inherent contradictions.

Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha poll too, one witnessed the rather premature demise of the 11-party Third Front. After the J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK dumped the alliance with the Left parties in Tamil Nadu within days of its announcement, other key constituents, the Samajwadi Party, the JD(U) and the Left parties decided to contest the elections on their own in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other States.

The then CPI general secretary, (late) AB Bardhan admitted in a television interview later that it was a mistake for the Left Front to attempt to forge a third front alliance before the poll. The proposed Third Front also did not have the support of either Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, BSP supremo Mayawati, BJD chief Naveen Patnaik or AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal — all of whom are powerful in their home States.

Ahead of the 2009 general election, one saw former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda taking the initiative for the formation of a Third Front with a massive rally in Karnataka, attended and addressed by several leaders including Prakash Karat, AB Bardhan, Chandrababu Naidu and BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra, besides representatives of the AIADMK and the Haryana Janhit Congress. Ever an aspirant for the top post, the JD(S) supremo goaded these parties to chalk out a ‘common minimum programme’, but failed to achieve any breakthrough.

Ironically, even as the results were trickling in, one saw the pathetic sight of Gowda’s son and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy entering 10, Janpath, with his face covered, to extend his party’s unconditional support to UPA2. It was not long before that he had deserted the Congress to form a coalition Government in Karnataka with the BJP and later backed out in the name of ‘secularism’, when he had to hand over the chief ministership of the State to the BJP under a 20-month rotation agreement.

Ahead of the election, CPI(M) leader  Sitaram Yechury had discounted the possibility of its allies in the so-called Third Front embracing the Congress or the BJP after the Lok Sabha poll. With the BSP and the JD(S) switching loyalties to the UPA and the TRS walking over to the NDA within days of the poll verdict, an embittered Yechury had to eat his words and state that the post-poll developments have proved that the ‘cut and paste’ alliance was a mistake.

Subsequently, one saw the Samajwadi Party along with its arch rival from Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by Mayawati, who had projected herself as the Third Front’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2009 poll, together serving as crutches for the UPA Government after its key allies, the TMC and the DMK walked out of the alliance.

While there has been a clamour for bipolar polity in the country on the lines of the United States and the United Kingdom, the fact remains that India is a geographically diverse country with multiplicity of languages, castes, religions, et al. It was felt that the so-called mainstream parties have failed in the past six decades to cater to the grievances and aspirations of the people resulting in the emergence of regional parties.

Apart from providing an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP, this front, it was felt,  had the potential to bring together under a national banner a host of parochial political parties for a greater common cause. These political parties could bring to the national table a range of regional experiences and thereby herald a bottom-up approach as against the prevailing top-down approach to development. While the country needs a strong Centre in terms of defence, external affairs and dealing with insurgency, terrorism and Maoism, the planning and developmental processes are in urgent need of decentralisation. Here again, one hoped that the Third Front parties could help strengthen the federal characteristics enshrined in the Constitution.

If anti-Congressism was the politically correct stand from the mid-60s to the late 80s, interspersed with the failed experiments of the Janata Party and the National Front coalitions, anti-BJPism laid the foundations of a third alternative in the 90s and thereafter. However, by aligning with both the major national parties from time to time under the garb of ‘stability’ or ‘keeping communal forces at bay’, the Third Front partners have come to be viewed as power-hungry regional satraps wanting to share the spoils of office at the Centre. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi continuing to top the popularity charts among political leaders and the Congress not yet showing signs of any major revival, there is a vacuum so far as an effective and constructive political opposition at the Centre is concerned.

Can Nitish Kumar fill up that gap? His latest move is yet to elicit a positive response even from his ally, Lalu Prasad, in his home turf of Bihar itself. With the Congress and the Left parties coming together in West Bengal to oppose Mamata Banerjee, the possibility of Trinamool Congress being part of a future Third Front seems unrealistic for the time being. There are also question marks on whether Naveen Patnaik would join hands Nitish Kumar and Mulayam Singh Yadav play second fiddle.

Yet, it would be premature to write the epitaph of the Third Front, for politics is the art of the possible. Notwithstanding the clamour for a bipolar polity, regional parties cannot be wished away. They are here to stay till the national parties reach out to the grassroots across the country and cater to the growing aspirations of the people. They will continue to be a force to reckon with so long as illiteracy remains, caste and linguistic loyalties are in vogue and regional imbalance persists.

Indian democracy has adequate space for a viable ‘third’ alternative or even an alternative in the first place if the Congress fails to take off, but it has to be ensured that the ‘front’ is evolved gradually, based on past experiences with all opportunist elements kept out, adherence to certain commonly agreed policies, principles, ideology and programme of action, coordination within and outside parliament as also seat arrangements, common manifesto and joint campaign during state and national elections.

(The writer is a senior journalist and commentator)

Link- http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/third-front-now-on-now-off.html

Fanatical Politics: Last Nail in Kolkata’s Coffin- Swapan Dasgupta

Fanatical Politics: Last Nail in Kolkata’s Coffin

By- Swapan Dasgupta

One of the sure signs that a place has become — for the want of a more appropriate word — provincial is when visiting tourists are badgered to provide testimonials of its greatness. Kolkata was once counted among the great cities of both India and the British Empire. Since then, for reasons that need separate and exhaustive treatment, it has fallen from grace. Today, it is still among India’s big cities but in terms of economic growth and associated vibrancy, it is barely ahead of Lucknow, Jaipur and Chandigarh.

Don’t get me wrong, Kolkata is still a great city. The people are naturally friendly (if a trifle over-intrusive), the civic amenities are good and the eateries spectacular and affordable. It is still a major centre of art and theatre, and as a sporting venue it is perhaps unrivalled in India. There is a lot going for Kolkata, apart from the fact that opportunities for economic growth are woefully limited. Yet, when such a city craves for testimonials it suggests that there is a realisation that there is a void which is sought to be filled by asking the likes of Shobhaa De and Ben Okhri — two recent visitors from whom good character certificates were extracted — what they thought of the place. And you can hardly expect visitors, overwhelmed by the generous hospitality of those who invited them to Kolkata, to go beyond gushing superficiality.

This insatiable hunger for recognition comes to mind in the context of the concert of Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali in Kolkata last week. What was interesting about the musical occasion that was hosted by the West Bengal Government and the Ministry of Minority Affairs at the Centre was that it passed off without any incident — no calls for boycott, no hostile demonstrations and no effigy burning. This was unlike Mumbai where the Shiv Sena ensured cancellation of a concert and even Thiruvanantapuram where there were protests by people carrying saffron flags. No doubt Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took exceptional care to make a political point about Pakistani artistes being welcome in this “tolerant” city. But even if the Government had kept aloof from a cultural event, a Ghulam Ali concert would have gone on undisturbed in Kolkata.

The importance of normalcy should not be under-estimated. In recent years the Shiv Sena has prevented Pakistani cricketers and performers from doing their thing in Mumbai; and even in Chennai, the possibility of Sri Lankan cricketers being prevented from playing is high. Compared to these cities, Kolkata appears a shining example of easy-going metropolitan conviviality.

The facile explanation would be that Kolkata retains a large measure of openness because there is no “Hindu Right” worth speaking of. The point is well taken because some of the fringe organisations that claim to speak for Hindu interests have made it their business to be silly. There was all that needless fuss over Bajirao Mastani, whose depiction of history was, at best, incidental. And there was all that feigned outrage over a book on Hinduism by an American academic — which, incidentally, has reappeared in bookshops.

From a distance it would appear that such trivial controversies have left the citizens of Kolkata unmoved: they are truly ‘progressive’ and enlightened.

Unfortunately, life in Kolkata isn’t all hunky-dory. Nearly a decade ago, the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen was unceremoniously bundled out of the city by the then Left Front Government after some Muslim organisations of Kolkata decided that her life was dispensable.

To date, Taslima hasn’t been allowed to re-enter Kolkata and even her books (written in Bangla) are sold under the counter for fear of recriminations. The fuss that greeted Salman Rushdie’s proposed presence at a Jaipur Literature Festival about four years wasn’t a function of “backward” Rajasthan. I can bet my boots that the State Government’s enlightened approach to the culture wars would terminate abruptly if Rushdie was to plan an appearance in Kolkata on a public platform.

There is a disconcerting conclusion that can be arrived at: Kolkata seems an intolerance-free zone because the political dispensation (first the Left and now the Trinamool Congress) has entered into a tacit understanding with those most likely to create trouble. As long as their veto on what is impermissible is adhered to, Kolkata can become the citadel of progressive values and enlightenment. The alternative is about as menacing as the Shiv Sena.

A recent incident illustrates the point. A spoilt son of a very rich businessman with political links to the TMC rammed through the barricades on Red Road and knocked down and killed a young air force personnel rehearsing for Republic Day. Far from the police taking prompt action to apprehend the rash driver, he was given a sufficient lead time to disappear from the city. The errant boy is known to hobnob with the same lot of people who were responsible for a rape on Park Street three years ago—the main culprit is still absconding.

What explains the deliberate foot dragging isn’t the ineptitude of the Kolkata Police, but a political approach that is premised on selective indignation. The fact that the hit-and-run driver and the Park Street culprits came from a particular community is both important and incidental. Important because West Bengal politics is shaped by a near-fanatical desire to oblige the minority vote bank. And it is incidental because the protection is showered on anyone — their faith is secondary — that can boast links to the ruling party.

If these rules of the game are diligently followed, Kolkata is a great place. The tourists who are bowled over by Kolkata’s undoubted charm, never get to experience the city’s less appetising underside. Worse, they don’t comprehend the compromises that are made to keep Kolkata ‘progressive’.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/usual-suspects/fanatical-politics-last-nail-in-kolkatas-coffin.html