Times of India | 1 month ago | 07-05-2022 | 12:57 am
Panaji: Cricketer-turned politician Kirti Azad, who switched from Congress to Trinamool Congress (TMC) last year, met with the functionaries of TMC’s state unit to inform them in the wake of the series of resignations that an ad-hoc state committee will be formed in the coming week to restructure the party in Goa. Azad, along with TMC MPs Luizinho Faleiro and Derek O’Brien chaired two meetings on Friday at the party office to take stock of the spate of exits, including that of the state party president Kiran Kandolkar. Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, replaced Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra as the party’s Goa unit in-charge on Wednesday and immediately arrived in Goa to review the situation that the party finds itself in. The party tried Goa as a stepping stone to expand its national footprint but couldn’t win a single seat. Immediately after the results on March 10, many TMC office-bearers and candidates exited the party, including its state president Kiran Kandolkar. TMC then dissolved its Goa unit and announced an overhaul. “Kirti Azad said that the TMC will form an ad-hoc committee in the coming days to help restructure the party. The committee will be announced by May 10 to restructure the party. Their job will be to work on the ground, get in people and finally submit a full-fledged committee,” said a TMC functionary. Aside from the high ranking TMC functionaries, 25 other TMC members were present for the meeting. Azad and O’Brien are expected to stay in Goa for the next couple of days to stabilize the party and steer the selection of the ad-hoc committee.
Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister of Maharashtra Wednesday, after the Supreme Court did not stay the Assembly floor test scheduled for June 30 called by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, and he faced the prospect of 40-odd of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs with the Eknath Shinde camp. The Sena’s petition seeking disqualification of 16 of the rebel MLAs remains pending.The crisis that brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government has several parallels – from hung Houses to new alliances, to petitions in the Supreme Court:July 2019The 2018 state elections threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP winning 104 seats, the Congress 80, the JD(S) 37, along with three Independents, in the 224-member House. With the BJP failing to reach the majority mark of 113, forcing BJP leader B S Yediyurappa to step down as Chief Minister within three days, the Congress and JD(S) forged an alliance with the JD(S)’s H D Kumaraswamy as CM.In July 2019, the coalition government hit shaky ground when 17 MLAs (14 from the Congress and three from the JD-S) sought to quit the Assembly, citing differences with the government and CM. The Speaker, K R Ramesh Kumar, elected on the Congress ticket, refused to accept their resignation. With the BJP seen as behind the move, the Congress and JD(S) approached the Speaker seeking that the 17 be disqualified and not allowed to contest the election during the tenure of the then Assembly.The Governor asked the Kumaraswamy government to take a floor test twice, and finally on July 23, 2019, the Congress-JD(S) Ministry fell. The Speaker went on to disqualify the MLAs, which remained away from the Congress-JD(S) reach and sequestered in hotels, and Yediyurappa returned as CM after winning a floor test in the truncated-House of 208. The BJP was able to muster support of 105 MLAs, against the Congress and JD(S)’s combined total of 99.In November 2019, on the plea of the 17 MLAs against the Speaker’s order, the Supreme Court upheld their disqualification but not the directive that they could not contest the election till 2023. In the bypolls held the next month, 11 of the 17 were re-elected to the House, on BJP tickets.October 2010The Yediyurappa-led BJP government had a slender majority – at 117, just four more than the cut off mark of 113. In October 2010, 11 of its MLAs withdrew support. The Congress and JD(S) had 101 MLAs, and posed a challenge in case of six Independents swaying their way.On October 6, the Speaker, K G Bopaiah, allied to the BJP, disqualified the rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law, just after Governor Hans Raj Bharadwaj had asked Yediyurappa to initiate a trust motion. With the rebel MLAs disqualified and the House strength down to 213, Yediyurappa won the trust vote by a voice vote and support of 106 MLAs, amid chaos.In May 2011, the Supreme Court held that some of the actions of the Speaker in disqualifying the 11 MLAs did not “meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play”. It also said Yediyurappa had ignored Constitutional norms.January 2006The 2004 Karnataka Assembly polls had thrown up a hung verdict, with the BJP winning 79 seats, the Congress 65 and the JD(S) 58. The Congress and JD(S) initially formed an alliance with Dharam Singh of the Congress as CM.In January 2006, a dissident group of 42 MLAs of the JD(S), led by Kumarswamy, withdrew support to the Congress, and allied with the BJP. Dharam Singh resigned and the Governor invited the BJP and JD(S) to form the new government.Kumaraswamy struck a deal that the two parties would hold power for 20 months each. But the coalition collapsed in October 2007, after the JD(S) reneged on transferring power to the BJP. President’s rule was imposed, and the next Assembly elections were held in May 2008.2019In March 2019, newly appointed Chief Minister Sawant urged Governor Mridula Sinha to summon the Assembly for a floor test on March 20, 2019, after sitting CM Manohar Parrikar’s death. Sawant resigned from the Speaker’s chair before he was sworn in as CM ahead of the floor test, and Michael Lobo, then Deputy Speaker, carried out the proceedings.The Congress had 14 MLAs, the BJP 12. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP) had three each. The NCP had one candidate and there were three Independents. The strength of the Goa Assembly is 40, but there were only 36 sitting MLAs at the time (Parrikar and BJP MLA Francis D’Souzaas had died and two Congress MLAs had resigned).Sawant won the floor test with the support of 20 MLAs, after the MGP and GFP MLAs as well as three Independents voted for him.Sawant consolidated his strength in July 2019, after 10 Congress MLAs and two MGP MLAs defected to the BJP.1995The BJP won 121 of 182 seats in the 1995 Assembly elections in Gujarat – its highest till then – in the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the subsequent riots. However, many MLAs were upset with Keshubhai Patel being made CM. They were believed to have the backing of then BJP general secretary and Gujarat in-charge Narendra Modi.While Patel was away in the US, leaving Ashok Bhatt behind as caretaker CM, Shankersinh Vaghela, then a BJP MP from Godhra, claimed the backing of 105 MLAs and launched a coup in September 1995.The MLAs were first taken to Vaghela’s village in Vasan and later to the home of a Congress leader in a village in Gandhinagar. While some of the MLAs were lured back by the BJP, Vaghela flew the remaining 55 out to Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh overnight.They only returned after senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee agreed to replace the CM. Suresh Mehta was subsequently appointed CM.But as remnants of the discontent followed the party, in 1996, during a meeting to felicitate Vajpayee, now the Prime Minister, the MLAs literally came to blows. An MLA was stripped of his dhoti and another was nearly set ablaze.The House was placed under “suspended animation”. The Governor was hospitalised at the time when Vaghela staked claim to form the government after parading 103 MLAs before him, including of the BJP, Congress and some Independents. The BJP MLAs numbered 48, more than one-third of the total, thus escaping the anti-defection law. Vaghela became CM.(with inputs from Johnson T A, Mayura Janwalkar, Leena Misra)
WITH UDDHAV Thackeray resigning as Chief Minister of Maharashtra, capping over a week-long political crisis, the Congress, which was a constituent of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, on Wednesday said it was a sad day for the state and India and argued that courts have failed to check the “treachery” committed on democracy.“A sad day for democracy in Maharashtra and India. People’s mandate is again run over by the bulldozer of allurement-inducement-intimidation and crass political corruption,” AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said.Recalling the fall of Congress and opposition governments in several states and formation of governments by the BJP in some states despite not having numbers on its own, he said, “The conclusions are clear. Right of voters to choose a government has been trampled by political corruption (and) Tenth Schedule of Constitution- Anti Defection Law- is a dead letter now, observed in violation.”Targeting the judiciary, he said the courts have failed to check the treachery committed on democracy.“Salute to the MVA and its leaders for fighting the principled fight – for truth, for righteousness, for harmony, for progress and for the Constitution. Time to pause and think for every fellow Indian – Is this the India of our dreams? If not, let’s reclaim our country,” he said in a Twitter post.The CPI(M) too hit out at the BJP.“The big black blot on India’s democracy grows larger. Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and now Maharashtra. Gross and brazen misuse of state machinery, central agencies and massive money power accumulated through loot of national assets to capture governments,” said CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. “At least now after this Maharashtra episode, the Supreme Court must hear challenges against election bonds. These bonds are legalisation of political corruption. The 21st tranche opens on July 1. The BJP has cornered the bulk of past tranches of Rs 10,000 crore.”
Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs from Maharashtra have contributed Rs 51 lakh for the flood relief work in Assam, where they have been camping since the last week, their spokesperson said on Wednesday.The Sena legislators, led by senior minister Eknath Shinde, have raised the banner of revolt against their party.These MLAs had first come to Guwahati on June 22 and subsequently in several batches from Gujarat’s Surat in chartered flights.Amid criticism that the Sena dissidents were staying at a luxury hotel in Guwahati even as parts of Assam were grappling with severe floods, Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson of the rebel MLAs told PTI, “Shinde has donated Rs 51 lakh to the Assam Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as our contribution to their ongoing rescue work. We cannot ignore the plight of people here.”Kesarkar added that with Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari asking the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to face a floor test on Thursday, the rebel MLAs have decided to move out of Guwahati and shift to a place near Mumbai.A close aide of Shinde, however, said the group will be staying in a Goa-based hotel and reach Mumbai by 9.30 am on Thursday.Kesarkar said, “We will be staying at a place that is one-hour air distance from Mumbai so that we can comfortably reach the state capital for the floor test.The decision (of floor test) will be what we have been demanding for a long time from our leadership.”Expressing disappointment with Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, he said the party MLAs had been asking him to move away from the NCP and Congress (allies in the government), but he never listened to them.“As the majority of Shiv Sena MLAs decided to go away from these two parties, the remaining Sena legislators with him (Thackeray) will have to abide by our whip at the time of the floor test,” Kesarkar said.Thackeray can definitely issue some instructions, but when we are in the House, we are bound by the Constitution of the country, he said.Shinde said on Wednesday that he will return to Mumbai on Thursday for the floor test against the beleaguered Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena-NCP-Congress government.
The heady days of winter 2021 must seem to be from an age ago for the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The party’s morale in the North East was high, with a number of high-profile joinings, including that of virtually the entire Meghalaya Congress unit, and a respectable performance in the Tripura urban local body polls. With a vote share of around 20 per cent in the Agartala Municipal Corporation election, the party had left the CPI(M) behind while the Congress was nearly wiped out.The Tripura bypoll results have, however, dealt a setback to the TMC that also faced a bruising defeat in the Goa Assembly polls in February. TMC’s campaign managers concede that the party refused to see the writing on the wall in Tripura. The party failed to win any of the four seats that were at stake and its vote shares were also low. In Agartala, it received 2.1 per cent of the votes while the vote shares were 2.98 per cent in Jubarajnagar, 3.4 per cent in Surma, and 2.96 per cent in Town Bardowali.“By rejoining the Congress, Sudip Roy Barman changed the equation. He is a formidable face in Agartala, which sent him to the Assembly five times between 1998 and 2018. So, we could not repeat our performance here despite putting up a popular face,” said a TMC leader who was involved with the party’s campaign.Historical trends show that vote shares of parties swing wildly in Tripura, the country’s third-smallest state. The Congress’s vote share crashed from 36.5 per cent in the 2013 Assembly polls to 1.79 per cent in 2018, shifting to the BJP that saw its share rise from 1.5 per cent to 43.59 per cent.In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress saw its share rise to 25.34 per cent and it shrank to 2.07 per cent in the urban local body polls. “That is when the party occupied some space. But it could not hold on to that as a local popular face infused fresh life into the Congress,” said the TMC leader.And due to the absence of a local face with a mass appeal in its state unit, the TMC was no match for the Congress that managed to get its support base revived in the urban areas, where the party performed well even during the heyday of the Left Front that governed Tripura from 1998 to 2018.“The party needs experienced people in its ranks, along with fresh blood,” said a senior TMC leader. The Tripura unit head, Subal Bhowmik, formerly with the BJP, has attributed the recent losses to “organisational weaknesses”.“The party still does not have a permanent office building in the state. There is no booth-level presence. The anti-BJP electorate also voted strategically. Why will they vote for a party that does not even have an office?” said the senior functionary on the condition of anonymity.On Tuesday, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the party would not abandon its plans to grow in the state and would continue to fight.Meanwhile, TMC leaders in the state also claimed that the CPI(M) helped the Congress “as part of a tacit deal”. A party functionary said, “Even in 2018, CPI(M) candidate polled over 17,000 votes in the Agartala constituency. This time, it came down to a little over 6,000. In the Town Bardowali seat, which is also in the capital city, the Left Front candidate had received over 13,000 votes in 2018, while he got barely 3,000 votes.”Going ahead, the party, which maintains that Barman’s win does not signal a revival of the Congress, plans to focus on building a “grassroots narrative”. Said a local leader, “The launch of the party’s office space in Agartala will be a good beginning.”Meanwhile, the TMC will launch its Meghalaya office today in the presence of Abhishek Banerjee.
The killing of a tailor in Udaipur by two men Tuesday for allegedly sharing remarks made by BJP’s Nupur Sharma on the Prophet drew condemnation from across the political spectrum, with leaders demanding exemplary punishment for the accused.This is what they said:Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal: “It is horrifying and gruesome. Such dastardly acts have no place in a civilized society. We condemn this in the strongest terms. The perpetrators of this crime should be punished severely.”Union Minister Bhupender Yadav: “The brutal murder of an innocent man in Rajasthan’s Udaipur shows that the Ashok Gehlot government is running a jungle raj. This is what happens when a dispensation makes appeasement its governance model. Reprehensible state of affairs.”Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan: “Strongly condemn the barbaric murder in Udaipur. Request the authorities to take stern action against those responsible. Such heinous acts would only serve to upset our harmonious living. Appeal to everyone to maintain peace and calm and let the law take its course.”Congress MP Rahul Gandhi: “I am deeply shocked by the heinous killing in Udaipur. Brutality in the name of religion cannot be tolerated. Those spreading terror through such brutality should be punished immediately. All of us have to defeat hatred together. I appeal to everyone to please maintain peace and brotherhood.”Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: “The culprits should get the harshest punishment. Spreading hatred and violence in the name of religion is fatal for our country and society. We have to together strengthen the efforts for peace and non-violence.”AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi: “I condemn the gruesome murder in Udaipur, Rajasthan. There can be no justification for it. Our party’s consistent stand is to oppose such violence. No one can take law into their own hands. We demand that the state govt takes strictest possible action. Rule of law must be upheld.”Goa CM Pramod Sawant, in a post addressed to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, said, “Mr CM, Police & Public Order is a State Subject and comes under your Government. The shocking incident of beheading of Shopkeeper Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur is highly condemnable and proves the total failure of Law and Order in Rajasthan. Stop appeasement politics!”Congress MP Shashi Tharoor: “I unreservedly condemn the horrific beheading of shopkeeper Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur by two Muslim youth, who then posted a gruesome video of the murder on social media. Bigotry & violence have no place in our society. The killers must receive exemplary punishment.”Former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje:” The criminals are emboldened due to the appeasement policies of the state government. The government should unmask the individuals and organisations behind the incident and arrest them.”SP chief Akhilesh Yadav: “Every single person in the society has to come forward and save the country’s brotherhood from forces of hatred. Such criminals should be punished without delay so that enemies of the country’s peace and tranquility are not able to take advantage of it.”BSP chief Mayawati: “The gruesome killing of the tailor in Udaipur is very painful. No amount of condemnation is enough to describe it. Appeal to everyone to exercise restraint and help maintain law and order.”RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav: “Pained by the barbaric incident in Udaipur. Religious fundamentalism does not just make a person blind, it also robs him of the ability to think. One form of fundamentalism feeds another. The fanatics should get punished without any delay.”