Opposition forces Rajya Sabha amendment to motion
thanking President; govt left red-faced
The Hindu Business Line, March 06, 2016
Minutes after Prime
Minister Narendra Modi?s request for cooperation, the Opposition
in Rajya Sabha amended government?s motion to thank President
Pranab Mukherjee?s address to both the Houses of Parliament.
The amendment moved
by Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the House regretted
that the President did not mention attempts to put restrictions
to citizens who want to fight panchayat polls. ??The Address
does not mention that the government is committed to secure the
fundamental right of all the citizens to contest elections at
all elevels, including to panchayats to further strengthen the
foundations of democracy, which also forms part of the basic
structure of Constitution?? the amendment said. In 2015 too, the
Opposition had amended the motion to thank President.
Arun Jaitley objected and said federalism will ?go for a six? is
the House approves the amendment. He said the Constitution
allows State governments to make their own laws on holding
panchayat elections. The Opposition benches questioned it and
said the effort is to warn a tendency blocking people from
contesting elections. Deputy Chairman ruled in favour of the
Opposition and said the amendment is a concern of the particular
member and it does not speak about laws in any States. 94
members voted in favour of Azad?s amendment while 61 voted
Later, talking to
reporters Azad said Haryana and Rajasthan Assemblies passed a
law fixing minimum educational qualification for contesting
local body elections. ?The Prime Minister did not give any
assurance to us on this issue,? Azad said.
Modi, earlier, urged
the Opposition to withdraw the amendment and said the laws
passed by Haryana has been upheld by the Supreme Court. He added
that the illiteracy was a result of the 60-year Congress rule,
which was protested by Congress members.
Raj Minister Jairam Ramesh said 80 per cent of the SC and ST
women could not fight the elections due to such stipulations.
?You don't need qualitative improvement in Lok Sabha, you don't
need qualitative improvement in Assemblies and you need
qualitative improvement in local governments. I don't understand
the political logic behind this,? Ramesh said.
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