EC bars campaigning Post-violence in West Bengal

EC bars campaigning Post-violence in West Bengal from Thursday night

In an unprecedented move, the Election Commission of India (EC) on May 15 put a blanket ban on political parties from campaigning activities in the nine parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal in view of the “growing incidents of disruption and violence”, beginning 10 p.m. on May 16.

The decision came a day after violent clashes during a roadshow taken out by BJP chief Amit Shah in Kolkata, following which the party lodged a complaint with the poll panel. Trinamool Congress had also approached the Commission seeking intervention.Scene at Vidyasagar College, Bidhan Sarani Campus, Kolkata, where Students belonging to TMC wing alleged that BJP supporters attacked and vandalized their campus while Amit Shah's roadshow passed this area, on Tuesday evening, May 14, 2019

Polls in these constituencies are scheduled to be held during the last phase on May 19 and the 48-hour silence period was to kick in on May 17 evening. The order bars campaigning activities till conclusion of the elections on May 19.

Exercising its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, to ensure the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections, the ECI directed that no person would convene, hold, attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election.

The order also states that no one can display to the public through movies and television or propagate any election matter by holding any event, including musical concert, theatrical performance or any other entertainment or amusement with a view to attracting people in connection with the elections.

Fear psychosis

A ban has also been placed on sale and distribution of liquor or “other substances of a like nature” in hotels, eating joints, shops or any other place, public or private, within the polling areas.

The Commission said the decision was taken based on a report from the Deputy Election Commissioner in-charge of the State.

In the report, the officer said: “During the review with the Observers, it clearly came out that…there is distinct resistance and non-cooperation from the district administration and district police when it comes to providing level playing field to all candidates from campaigning and in providing a fearless threat-free environment to the voters.”

The Observers pointed out that, while on the surface everything looks fine, but in their frank interactions with the public, the fear psychosis that is widely prevalent comes out. “They pointed out that utterances of the AITC senior leaders on the lines of ‘Central Forces will leave after the elections while we will remain’ sends a chilling message among the officers as well as voters alike,” said the order signed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and the two Election Commissioners.

Additional Director-General of Police relieved

The ECI also received reports from Special Observers, Ajay Nayak and Vivek Dubey, who gave accounts of other incidents of violence during political campaigning on May 14, for which cases were registered.

During investigations, about 100 persons were detained. Of these, 58 persons were arrested in two cases. “During the last 24 hours, representatives of various political parties have met the Commission and expressed their concerns on the prevailing conditions of law & order…these campaign related violent incidents are creating an atmosphere of fear and hatred in the polling areas which is affecting the overall electoral environment,” said the order.

In a separate order, the Commission relieved the State Additional Director-General of Police (CID) Rajeev Kumar from his post with immediate effect and directed him to report to the Union Home Ministry at 10 a.m. on May 16.

The EC also removed State Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya form his post for interfering in the process of conducting elections. The Chief Secretary was given additional charge and compliance report sought by 10 p.m. on May 15.

Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan said the poll panel expressed deep anguish over the desecration of the bust of 19 century educationalist and reformer Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyay and hoped that the local authorities would identify and take action against the culprits at the earliest.

NEW DELHI , MAY 15, 2019 

Central Govt has no plan to change reservation policy

Central Government has no plan to change reservation policy

The Central government has no plan to do away with quota policy for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the country, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
His assurance came a day after violent protests against a Supreme Court order by Dalits claimed nine lives. The court order dilutes a law on preventing atrocities against the marginalised communities in the country.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Rajnath Singh said “rumours” were spread that the Union government wanted to end reservation.
“Rumours are being spread about the reservation policy. It is wrong and baseless. I appeal to all political parties to help in maintaining peace and amity in the country,” he said amid noisy protests in the house.
CentralThe Minister said that “the government is fully committed to protect the interests of the SCs/STs and that an advisory has been issued to all the states to ensure law and order”.
He said the government has provided all assistance to the states immediately on their request and is in constant touch with them.
Opposition members shouted slogans and were on their feet in protest against the Supreme Court’s March 20 order pertaining to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Conveying condolences to the families of people who lost their lives during Monday’s protests, Rajnath Singh said “he fully appreciates that there is widespread anger among the people on the Supreme Court order”.
“I wish to inform the house that the government of India was not party in that case. People have taken to the streets. I want to assure them there has been no dilution in law whatsoever by our government. Rather, after coming to power and examining the SC/ST Act, we have taken a decision to strengthen it,” he said.
Rajnath Singh said the then government passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act in 1995.
“As per the amendments, new offences were added. It was observed that due to the delay in filing of charge sheets (in cases of atrocities), the victims and witness who were vulnerable were influenced and silenced. In order to protect them, the provision of witness protection was introduced. The compensation payable to the victims was also enhanced,” the Home Minister said.
He said there has been a new provision wherein action against government servants found negligent in implementing the Act will be taken.
Rajnath Singh said the government acted swiftly and had already filed a petition in the top court to seek review of its order.
Trinamool Congress’ Kalyan Banerjee countered this, saying the Additional Solicitor General had given his consent to the Supreme Court’s decision.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said the “dilution in the Act has already been done” and the opposition parties “want to discuss it” in the lower house of Parliament.
AIADMK members, meanwhile, created a ruckus and gathered near Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s podium to demand early constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board to oversee water-sharing arrangement between Tamil Nadu, Karantaka, Kerala, and Puducherry.
Scindia also raised the issue of no-confidence motion moved by the opposition against the Narendra Modi government.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was ready for a debate on the motion and blamed the Congress for creating disruptions.
“They are trying to halt the democratic process in the house,” Ananth Kumar said. The Speaker said she was unable to proceed with the no-confidence motion notice and adjourned the house for the day.
This is the last week of the budget session that began on January 29 and went into a recess on February 9. The session resumed on March 5 and will conclude on April 6.
The post-break session has been completely washed out amid a logjam in both houses of Parliament. Important Budget bills were passed without debate amid protests.
– 03 April 2018 | IANS | NEW DELHI

Mission Northeast- By Priyanka Deb Barman

Mission Northeast

BJP’s route into CPM-stronghold Tripura is via the Trinamool Congress

 By Priyanka Deb Barman 

On the way of Mission Northeast, the Left Front is Bharatiya Janata Party’s main hurdle in Tripura. But before taking on the entrenched reds, the saffron brigade appears to be gobbling up other competitors ahead of the 2018 assembly elections. In less than 48 hours since 23 March, 2017, some 1,250 Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders, members, and supporters joined the BJP. It was reminiscent of how the TMC poached Congress leaders almost a year ago in a bid to do a West Bengal by uprooting the Marxists.

The Congress in Tripura was on TMC’s radar much before the BJP set out to make the Northeast comprising eight states Congress-free. In June last year, less than a month after the BJP ended 15 years of Congress rule in Assam, the TMC lured away six of the 10 Congress MLAs in Tripura.

It was the culmination of TMC’s 17 years of penetration in the Congress that began with former chief minister Sudhir Ranjan Majumder in 1999. Majumder died 10 years later. But while the BJP expanded its footprint from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, the TMC’s march has been somewhat halted in Tripura owing to a leadership tussle.

TMC lost hundreds of leaders and workers to the BJP this month. The TMC received a major blow when Surajit Dutta and Ratan Chakraborty – ministers in Majumder’s Congress government from 1988-1993 – donned saffron within 14 days of each other.

Dutta and Chakraborty were among a handful of leaders who helped the TMC grow in Tripura. Dutta went on to be the TMC’s state unit president while Chakraborty became the chairman of the party’s coordination committee. “I respect (TMC president and West Bengal chief minister) Mamata Banerjee’s leadership spirit but she has entrusted the Tripura unit of the party with those who do not worked for the people,” Chakraborty said after joining BJP with 42 others in the presence Union minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain on Thursday.

Accusing Tripura’s TMC leaders of working at the behest of chief minister Manik Sarkar’s Left Front government, Chakraborty said the BJP was the only party capable of loosening the Marxist stranglehold on the state since 1993. Gohain agreed. “Tripura will see a tsunami in 2018 just as people in Uttar Pradesh did,” Gohain said.

Tripura is one of three north-eastern states where assembly elections are scheduled in 2018. The other two are Meghalaya, where BJP is confident of displacing the Congress-led coalition, and Nagaland, which is ruled by a coalition that the regional Naga People’s Front, a BJP ally, heads.

TMC insiders admitted that a few MLAs and party office-bearers were in touch with BJP leaders and could switch over. State BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb is learnt to have met TMC legislator Biswabandhu Sen besides Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath, who had indirectly supported demonetisation in the last assembly session.

Assembly elections

The Congress, though, has downplayed the threat from either BJP or TMC. “The BJP does not take the Northeast seriously, and it seems to be gaining ground only because of frequent visits by Central ministers,” veteran Congress leader Tapas Dey said.

Saffron step-up

The BJP has a long way to go in Tripura but been making its presence felt since 2015

 • Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council polls on May 3, 2015: The Left Front swept the 28 seats but BJP came second in five and was largely responsible for the communists getting less than 50% votes, as was the case earlier

By-poll for Pratapgarh and Surma assembly constituencies on June 27, 2015:  BJP displaced the opposition Congress for the second spot behind CPM that won both seats

 • Civic polls in December 2015: BJP won four seats each in two councils, stood second in five municipal councils and two seats in one Nagar Panchayat; Congress could manage only 13 seats

 • Tribal area village council polls in February 2016: BJP won 75 seats while the Marxists won 2,939 of the total 3,695 seats in 528 village councils

 • By-poll for Barjala and Khowai assembly in November 2016: CPM won both seats but came second in Barjala, earlier with Congress, and finished a close third in Khowai


400 TMC members join BJP in Tripura

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



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




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