FIRs in Assam & UP
Watch your words as these give unwarranted leverage for action! A veiled terse message from law enforcing authorities such as seen in Assam and Uttar Pradesh where the police pleasantly is proactive against those who dare to tarnish the image of Prime Minister Modi or the ruling BJP. The words used could be termed such as ‘assertions prejudicial to national interest’ or ‘intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace’ and the person put behind bars. The recent most case being of FIRs lodged in the two BJP-ruled States against Congress leader Pawan Khera, over his reference to Prime Minister as “Narendra Gautamdas Modi”at a press meet while criticising government over Gautam Adani row. Worse,he was arrested by Assam Police on Thursday last amidst high drama, deplaned from a flight to Raipur to attend Congress Plenary and his colleagues protested on the tarmac.Fortunately, he got interim bailby a Delhi court on Supreme Court’s directions, but anger simmers: “I was asked to deplane as if I was a terrorist…they arrested me illegally without serving me any notice,” said Khera and his party sees it as “a new example of Modi’s politics of vendetta, harassment and intimidation.”
However, Assampolice insists he had used “derogatory remarks” against a democratically elected PM and filed charges under IPC sections mentioned above. The BJP justifies it saying Kheramade fun of PM and his late father, as Modi’s full name is Narendra Damodardas Modi, (middle name of his father). Likewise, in Uttar Pradesh the police has sent a notice to Bhojpuri folk singer Neha Singh Rathore, known for her latest video song ‘UP Me Ka Ba’. Apparently, it’s said it created ‘disharmony and tension’ as it criticised the Yogi Adityanath government and mentioned his name while referring to the Kanpur Dehat incident, in which two women immolated themselves during an anti-encroachment drive. She has been asked to reply and if found unsatisfactory, action can be taken against you under relevant sections of IPC/CrPC. But she says “I am not scared. I am a citizen of a democratic country. My Constitution guarantees me certain rights. I draw my courage from the Constitution.” An illusion in present day politics, some or rather many would say.
Warning From Punjab?
Are warning signals resounding in Punjab, reminiscent of the militant movement in Punjab during the 80s and 1990s? On Thursday last, the AAP-ruled State witnessed unprecedented scenes of protest led by pro-Khalistan sympathiser and preacher Amritpal Singh demanding release of his associate Lovepreet Singh Toofan from Ajnala police station on charges, including kidnapping. His supporters, some brandishing swords and guns, broke though barricades and stormed into the cop station complex and threatened to camp there till they were “assured’ that Toofan would be released. Shockingly, the police force refrained from taking action against them and next day the court released him as the police said they had no evidence against him! Both State and Centre need to be vigilant rather work in tandem,at least on this front, as Amritpal,who heads an organisation ‘Waris Punjab De’, has invariably been speaking the language of secession and separatism, evoking calls for freedom of Punjab and creation of Khalistan on several platforms.The pattern doesn’t bode well for national security, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Lid on AIADMK Fight
The lid appears to have been put on the incessant infighting in MGR’s party, the AIADMK. On Thursday last, the Supreme Court upheld a Madras High Court order allowing Edappadi K Palaniswami to continue as the party’s interim General Secretary, dismissing petitions filed by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. EPS cadres are ecstatic as the verdict is seen as establishing his position as the party’s single and supreme leader, and that the party name and ‘Two Leaves’ election symbol would eventually come to him. An elated EPS said the verdict has ‘unmasked betrayers and the DMK’s B-team’ that wanted to finish off his party.Emboldened, he is all set to consolidate the party, making it amply clear that OPS, Sasikala and Dhinakaran won’t be taken back in the party. And while he urges everyone who worked for the party to join him, the verdict should have impact on Tamil Nadu’s political landscape. It will be back to a straight DMK-AIADMK fight, with the former getting no more leverage from a divided house.However,EPS has his first test—the upcoming Erode East Assembly by-poll.
Delhi Gets Its Mayor
The national capital and AAP finally got its mayor on Wednesday last after three failed attempts since the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi held over two months ago. But its smooth running will be a tall challenge for AAP’s Shelly Oberoi, who defeated BJP’s Rekha Gupta. In the evening all hell broke loose, reminiscent of attempts made earlier to elect the mayor. The MCD House witnessed ruckus till wee hours of Thursday morning —brawls, flinging water bottles, fruit and ballot boxes at one another and forcing over a dozen adjournments to elect six members of the decision-making standing committee. This as BJP councillors opposed Oberoi’s decision to allow members to carry their phones while voting! Though the process began on Friday morning again with Oberoi appealing to all, ‘We are all respected members and we should uphold the dignity… all councillors will work from today…’ its easier said than done. The polls were facilitated by Supreme Court order but as the standing committee has powers to grant financial approval to projects, finalisation of policies, appointing sub-committees among others, she will have a daunting task. Hope in this AAP-BJP one-upmanship Delhiites don’t get short changed on what is their due.
Double Whammy For Uddhav
It’s a double whammy for Uddhav Thackeray camp. In the long-drawn battle of which is the real Shiv Sena, the Election Commission has favoured Eknath Shinde-faction and ordered allotment of bow and arrow election symbol of the undivided party of Balasaheb Thackeray to it. Expectedly, Uddhav petitioned the Supreme Court, but it refused to stay the EC order and instead issuednotice to Shinde group for next hearing in 2 weeks. TheThackeray faction has been allowed to use ‘Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)’ name and ‘flaming torch’ as its poll symbol in the state’sFebruary 26 byelections, but no more. The court refused relief on Thackeray’s plea that party assets and bank accounts be saved from being taken over by Shinde group, as it wasn’t part of EC order and the court can’t overstep. So, there’s lot more in store in the ongoing battle between the two factions. Importantly, all eyes would be on 2ndMarch results of Kasbapeth and Chinchwad Assembly byelections to see whether Thackeray’s appeal to Shiv Sainiks to teach a lesson to a party which had stolen the Sena’s title and symbol, finds favour with the people. — INFA