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To Be Or Not To Be: DELHI AWAITS AAP DECISION By Insaf, 19 December, 2013 Print E-mail

Round The States

New Delhi, 19 December 2013

‘To Be Or Not To Be’


By Insaf


The famous opening phrase “To be or not to be” in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet could well be Arvind Kejriwal’s line in Delhi. While in the play Prince Hamlet contemplates death and suicide, Kejriwal and his party members are in a dilemma whether to form a government or not. Would it amount to the same? The referendum on Government formation has expectedly got a mixed response from Delhiites (if that can be ascertained). Some are for it saying it has the voters’ mandate while others against, warning he shouldn’t trust either the BJP or the Congress. Adding to the confusion is the Centre’s magnanimity, by giving ‘some more time” to AAP to take a decision, despite Lt Governor Najeeb Jung recommending President’s rule. Many may smell a rat, as there have been umpteen occasions when Rashtrapati Bhavan has promptly accepted the recommendation even before the ink has dried. However, the drama has to end. As it is, of the 18 conditions by AAP to both Congress and BJP, the former has said 16 need only administrative decisions and have nothing to do with either Parliament or Assembly. With lakhs of responses pouring in and 25 lakh copies of Kejriwal’s letter distributed, AAP’s 28-MLA team has to take a decision. The drama should not turn into a comedy. Monday, it shall be, says Kerjriwal. Let’s watch whether like Hamlet, he would have sufficient reason to say that the alternative might be still worse.


Meanwhile, Najeeb Jung has got cracking in setting the system right. That’s what his first steps reveal. On Wednesday last, he put in place rigid rules for nursery admissions for 2014-15 to make life easier for harassed parents. The 20% quota for the schools’ management has been done away with and efforts on to ensure that schools would admit only those kids which live within a radius of six km. Of the 100 points in the open category of admissions, the neighbourhood kids would get 70 points, 20 points for those having sibling in the same school, 5 points each for alumni parents and inter-state transfers. This apart, the admissions have been divided into four categories--65% as open seats, 25% quota for weaker sections, and 5% each for staff and girls. The move should usher in transparency. This apart, the Delhi Development Authority has started to roll back the promises former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit made on regularising colonies. Clearly, Jung is wasting no time and in fact may well make life easier for AAP, if it chooses to take over the reigns of the national capital.         

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Maharashtra Onion Woes

Onion prices are now causing a stench in Maharashtra. While the States which recently went through the Assembly polls may have been impacted by the skyrocketing prices of onions, north Maharashtra is facing a major problem with the prices being slashed. Farmers are protesting on the streets after the wholesale price of the vegetable dropped from Rs 4,800 a quintal to Rs 1,000 on Monday last. The ruling Congress-NCP government of Prithviraj Chavan is clearly worried as the simmering districts, including Nashik and Jalgaon, are its traditional strongholds. Farmers’ are reported to be organising themselves into small political groups as an alternative to the big parties, blocking roads and forcing traders to shut shops. The Government does have a lot more on its plate than it can handle and is looking up at the Commerce Ministry to bail it out. Bring down, if not abolish, the minimum export price for onions, raised to increase local supply during the past few months. Fingers are being crossed that the Centre will oblige given that 2014 general elections are not far.

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States’ “Utterly Callous”

State governments sadly couldn’t care less about the wellbeing of children. Not just hearsay, but proven in court. None other than the Supreme Court has issued an ultimatum to States and Union Territories to implement three laws, or face the risk of contempt proceedings. Clearly, the administrative machinery has been “utterly callous” in regard to Right of Children to Free Education Act, 2009, Protection of Rights of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005, as the court’s directive to implement these, issued in beginning January, appears to be just on paper. The court noted that in many States, had not appointed the chairman of the Commission, whereas in others members had not been selected. Worse, many had defaulted by not even putting rules and regulations in place. The court has thus put a fresh deadline of eight weeks for the States and UTs to get their act together. Will they? Or give more reasons for the judiciary to take over the powers of the Executive?

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Centre To Yield To Bengal?

There may be good news for West Bengal. The UPA-II is learnt to veering towards removing Justice (Retd.) A K Ganguly as Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission. Among others, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has been vociferous that Ganguly be shown the door, ever since sexual harassment allegations were made against him by a law intern as well as the Supreme Court committee saying he had “indulged in inappropriate behaviour of sexual nature.” The party ensured that its MPs protested vociferously against Ganguly during the winter session of Parliament. They did by demanding that “he resign or be arrested or that President should sack him.” Accordingly, the Government is preparing its case for Rashtrapati Bhavan. If it informs President Mukherjee that a formal inquiry can be constituted against Ganguly and that he refers it to the Supreme Court, then as per the Commission Act, he can be removed. On his part, Ganguly refuses to budge and has gone back to work after going on leave. Will he resign or be removed and how soon, is the big question.

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UP Govt Gets HC Rap

There seems to be no end to Uttar Pradesh Government’s troubles. After being rapped by the Supreme Court over the death of 40 children in Muzzaffarnagar relief camps, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has got a hard knock from the Allahabad High Court. On Wednesday last, the court stayed a Government order which apparently gave Cabinet, State or deputy ministers status to political supporters and near and dear ones. Worse, it issued notices to 61 persons, who though not being actual ‘constitutional’ functionaries were enjoying ministerial status and asked for their response within six weeks. Additionally, the court has directed the Government to ensure that red beacons are not used by persons with status of ministers, as per the apex court directive early this month, which held that post and status of constitutional functionaries cannot be equated with others. The SP Government will now have to think of new ways to keep its supporters happy. Many were accommodated in local bodies as chairman or vice-chair or made advisors to the Government and accorded constitutional functionary status. What next?---INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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