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BJP hopes to cash in on Citizenship Bill in Bengal




Kolkata | With the Lok Sabha polls approaching, the West Bengal BJP hopes to cash in on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to reach out to the one crore odd Hindu Bangladeshi refugees in the state once the bill is implemented.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the non-Muslims who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.

According to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, the bill will not only endear them to the Hindu refugees in the state but will also help them counter the allegation of being an “anti-Bengali” party.

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and several opposition parties in the state had levelled the saffron party as “anti-Bengali”, following the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) drafts in Assam last year.

Mohit Roy, convenor of the BJP’s refugee cell, told PTI that the bill would change the future of the one crore Bengali refugees living in West Bengal.

“Various political parties have played with the emotions of the Bengali refugees living in the state for the past several decades. Neither the TMC nor the CPI(M), which boast of being champions of refugees, did nothing for the Bengali refugees. It is (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and the BJP which will give them citizenship. This is a historic decision,” he said.

In the next few days, the party will set up camps and make people aware of the bill, especially in the bordering districts such as North and South 24 Parganas, Coochbehar, Uttar Dinajpur and Nadia which have a very high concentration of Bengali refugees, BJP sources said.

These districts account for around 10-12 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The saffron party has identified West Bengal as a priority state and party chief Amit Shah has set a target of winning 22 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the upcoming general election.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would be one of the top issues in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh told PTI.

He said the passage of the bill had exposed the “double standards” of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the TMC, who had played politics with the emotions of the refugees in West Bengal.

“The TMC had tried to portray the BJP as an anti-Bengali party when the NRC drafts were published. Now what would they say? We have passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to give rights to Hindus and Bengalis,” Ghosh added.

He said the BJP did not believe in vote-bank politics like the TMC, which was busy appeasing a specific community in the state.

Senior TMC MP Saugata Roy dubbed the bill as “divisive” and “insidious” that went against the basic tenets of the Constitution.

State minister and North 24 Parganas president of the TMC Jyotipriyo Mullick told PTI that the people of Bengal were well aware of the kind of development initiatives the Mamata Banerjee-led party had undertaken for the benefit of the refugees in the state.

“Unlike the BJP, we do not believe in dividing people on the basis of religion. We do not differentiate between refugees on the basis of religion,” he said.


Govt brought 10 percent quota law to ‘win some votes’: Sitaram Yechury




Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi | CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday hit out at the Centre over the new law to give 10 per cent quota to economically weaker sections from general category and alleged the move was to “win some votes.”

“An ill-thought and poorly planned proposal which has been pushed by Modi govt only in desperate hope of winning some votes. Why are no funds being made available to central institutions for expansion? Why does Modi govt want to destroy these institutions?” he tweeted.

The bill was introduced by the government and passed amid criticism by the opposition in the recently concluded winter session of Parliament.

He alleged that the government was damaging farmers and no amount of rhetoric can make up for the loss.

“No amount of jumlas and tamashas can cover up the kind of wilful damage caused to farmers by Modi government, the worst and most callous in independent India’s history,” he said.

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Supreme Court asks search committee on Lokpal to recommend names by Feb end





New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed a February end deadline for the search committee on Lokpal to recommend the panel of names for appointment of the first anti-graft ombudsman of the country.

The search committee is headed by former apex court judge Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai,

A bench headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed the Centre to provide the search committee with the requisite infrastructure and manpower to enable it to complete its work.

The bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and S K Kaul, said it would hear the matter again on March 7.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the bench there were certain problems like lack of infrastructure and manpower due to which the search committee was not able to hold deliberations on the issue.

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BJP not involved in any operation to topple Cong-JDS government: Yeddyurappa





Bengaluru | BJP Karnataka chief B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday said no member of his party was involved in any operation to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

With the ongoing power tussle between the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and BJP in Karnataka intensifying, both sides have been trading charges of trying to poach each other’s MLAs.

“The BJP has nothing do with ruling coalition MLAs who are in Mumbai,” the former Chief Minister said and accused the Congress and JD(S) of trying to shift the blame on his party to cover up their ‘failures and inability’ to keep their flock together. “No one from the BJP has indulged in any kind of operation or luring Congress-JD(S) MLAs.

We had gathered all our MLAs atone place and were discussing about the preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls for the last two-three days. Todayall are coming back,” Yeddyurappa said.

Speaking to reporters here, he hit out at the Congress leaders, saying they talk about the Constitution, but everyone was aware of how they played with it since 1960. “Why do they have to fear if we gather our MLAs, I don’t understand. Internal fight within Congress and JD(S) is going out of control… to cover up their internal squabbles, they should not blame the BJP,” he added.

Yeddyurappa, who was in New Delhi and Gurugram along with 104 BJP MLAs for the last few days, returned to the city to visit the ailing 111-year-old prominent seer Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddaganga mutt in Tumakuru district.

Reacting to Congress-JD(S) leaders’ claims that some BJP MLAs were in touch with them, Yeddyurappa said, “We are together. You (Congress-JD(S) have said four to five MLAs are in your contact. Call them. Let me see.

If your MLAs have gone to Mumbai or Delhi, what do we have to do with it? It is -Congress-JD(S)- your duty to keep your legislators intact. No one is in touch with us…I’mtelling you,”he added.

The Leader of Opposition in the assembly also questioned as to who the leaders of Congress-JD(S) combine were to question his party about camping in Gurugram. “Who are they to ask where we are going? You try tokeep your MLAs intact, why are you blaming us? Tomorrow they (Congress) have called their legislature party meeting. how many will come it will be known, their true colours will come out tomorrow.” “Without understanding that your MLAs are dissatisfied and disgruntled, don’t unnecessarily put blame on BJP,” Yeddyurppa said.

Pointing out that during S M Krishna’s chief ministership, Maharashtra MLAs were kept at a resort in Mysuru, and recently Gujarat MLAs were put up in a resort in Bengaluru, Yeddyurappa questioned as to “where did Congress’ democracy go then?”

Hitting out at Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Yeddyurappa said despite being taught a lesson by the people ofChamundeshwari constituency, he had notlearnt anything.

Siddaramaiah lost the Chamundeshwari assembly seat in the May polls, though he won from Badami. Lashing out at the BJP and calling it “shameless” for allegedly luring ruling coalition MLAs, Siddaramaiah on Wednesday had said that Yeddyurappa has grown old, but has no wisdom.

Yeddyurappa also targeted former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and called him “a political opportunist”. “…all his fights and principles are only limited to secure his and his family’s political interests.People of the state are well aware of Deve Gowda’s use and throw policy,” hesaid.

Targeting Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Yeddyurappa said 156 taluks were in the grip of drought, but the chief minister and his ministers are not working effectively. “What are you doing? Who is travelling- Chief Ministers and Ministers- What steps have you taken when farmers are in distress?” he questioned. “In such a grave situation, without doing your duty, you are trying to shift the blame on BJP. You will not gain anything from it,” he said.

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