Prof. Rajvir Sharma12

Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019: Opposition’s Protest Not Justifiable

Many opposition political parties and their frontal organisations and ‘some professional opponents’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government have protested the tabling and passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) both inside and outside the parliament. The validity of the criticism of the Government move on CAB can be better gauged by going through the debate over the bill in the Lok Sabha where it was passed by an overwhelming majority after a long  and comprehensive discussion.

The main charge of the opponents there was that the Bill is unconstitutional as it’s against Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The argument was that it discriminates between the religious communities and religion cannot be the basis of citizenship. Furthermore, it would also harm the interests of the north-east states in terms of encroachments upon their identity-cultural and linguistic. The Home Minister replied to the objections of the opposition leaders in extensive detail and tried to allay the fears, real or imaginary or manufactured.

Sidharth Mishra12

Campus Unrest: Thanks to inept vice-chancellors, DU joins JNU as discontent brews

Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has his hands full. As if the ongoing unrest in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was not enough, discontent has now boiled over on the Delhi University campus with the teachers laying a siege of the Vice Chancellor’s office.

In the present turmoil on the two campuses, there is one commonality, the utter failures of the two vice chancellors, Mamidala Jagdeesh Kumar of the JNU and Yogesh Tyagi of the Delhi University to encourage dialogue. In both the cases the charge against the establishment is of unilateral decision making without taking into account the views of the students and the teaching communities.

Without going into the merits or demerits of the decisions taken, let’s take a look at what Nishank had to say in Parliament on the ongoing crises on the two premium education centres of the country. “All administrative and academic decisions, including fee revision are taken by the university with the approval of its statutory bodies, such as Academic Council, Executive Council and Court. However, no information is maintained centrally in this regard,” Nishank had replied to a question in Parliament earlier this week.

Sidharth Mishra 2

JNU Turmoil: In Dealing with Politics, Govt May Have Failed Scholarship

With Delhi Police registering FIRS against the agitating students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the JNU administration moving the High Court for a contempt of the court case against the students and the cops, it’s difficult to comprehend if its beginning of the end of the crisis, or the end of the beginning which was made a day earlier with the government constituting a three-member committee to look into the matter.

JNU, its students and faculty have been discussed variously for the past week in public domain with the dominant narrative being that they are anti-national and a burden on society; and JNU is an ‘adda’ (hub) of politics which should be shut down. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank have, however, shown signs of some benevolence towards the agitating students but the same cannot be said about the more stringent elements wedded to their common ideology.

Given the legacy of knowledge sharing and struggle for youth empowerment, it’s difficult to believe that a body like the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad could favour Tiananmen Square like handling of the situation. It has been to the much relief of those not sympathetic to the Left but at the same time facing the dilemma of endorsing a high handed management of the issue, that some of the Vidyarthi Parishad functionaries have stated on record that they opposed the exceptional fee hike.

Sidharth Mishra

More Than Farm Fires, Failed Public Transport System Responsible for Choking Delhi

The ‘parali’ farm fires in the fields of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh has been effectively put out under the directions of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court passed the order when for once the BJP-led Central government and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government decided to put their heads together and lay blame for pollution in country’s capital at the doors of the voiceless farmers.

They did so to save their skin, lest the court come down heavily on them for allowing Delhi to turn into a gas chamber by a well-designed system of governance deficit, which over a period of time has turned into fine art of electoral politics. But the nature this time around has decided to teach a lesson. The pollution has refused to go and the Supreme Court has now ordered closure of schools in Delhi and surrounding areas till November 15. 

Despite claiming through full-page government advertisements for days together in newspapers, the bills for which must be running into hundreds of crores of rupees, air pollution in the city continues to peak. The headline grabbing arrangement of car rationing, the two-week-long odd-even scheme, too is hurtling towards end, but pollution refuses to subside.

Sidharth Mishra

Legalising Colonies: Politically Expedient, Environmentally Mournful

In times not very far back in Delhi’s political history, if a politician was introduced as “zameen se jude hue neta”, it did not mean the person was essentially a grassroots leader. It often meant that he was associated with dealing in plotting of land in the unauthorised colonies.

The central government this week decided to regularise all the 1797 such colonies ahead of the assembly polls scheduled towards January-end next year. That it’s a politically expedient decision, goes without saying with more than one-third of the city’s population living in these colonies spread over 35 of the 70 constituencies.

This move could prove to be a game changer in a race where so far Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party for now looked to be ahead of its rivals. An analysis of the Lok sabha polls results would show that the voters in the unauthorised colonies polled in large numbers in favour of the BJP candidates, with the hope that the Centre would oblige them by ending the illegal status of their colonies. Thus, this move could be seen both as a payback by the BJP leadership and also an investment for a favourable result in the upcoming assembly elections.