The Telegraph – Uddhav Thackeray sails through Maharashtra floor test

Fadnavis questioned the change of pro-tem Speaker for the floor tests

Sanjay K Jha

New Delhi – India, 01 December 2019. The Uddhav Thackeray government comfortably won Saturday’s floor test with the support of 169 legislators, 24 above the majority mark of 145, shortly after the BJP walked out of the Assembly raising procedural issues.

Having crossed the first hurdle, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition will now have to elect the Speaker at a rare sitting of the House on Sunday. Congress member Nana Patole, a former Lok Sabha member who quit the BJP because of differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the ruling coalition’s candidate for Speaker.

The BJP, which will get another opportunity to test the government’s majority during the Speaker’s election, has fielded Kisan S Kathore. Saturday’s vote saw four abstentions: by the two All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen members and the lone CPM and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena members.

The ruling coalition, which has 154 members of its own in the House of 288, received support from several Independents and smaller parties, dashing the 105-strong BJP’s hopes of restricting the margin to a minimum. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will now have little worry about the stability of his government.

The BJP’s House leader, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, questioned the change of pro-tem Speaker for the floor test.

While governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had initially nominated BJP member Kalidas Kolambkar, he was later replaced by the NCP’s Dilip Walse Patil. This was because the BJP government had resigned after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test, giving its successor the right to nominate its own pro-tem Speaker.

Fadnavis also objected to many of the members taking the oath in the name of social and political icons and party chiefs instead of the stipulated “Constitution or God”, and argued that the process was invalid.

He also questioned the holding of the floor test before the election of the Speaker, describing this as a violation of the constitutional scheme. He said the BJP would write to the governor to annul the entire process.

Uddhav, however, swiftly turned the procedural objection into an emotive issue, asking since when had invoking Shivaji’s name become a crime in Maharashtra. Before taking his oath on Thursday, Uddhav had said in Marathi: “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj vandan karun.”

After winning the trust vote on Saturday, he said: “If that is a crime, I will commit this crime again and again.”

Some others who had taken the oath of office along with Uddhav at Shivaji Park on Thursday too had invoked icons such as B R Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule, in addition to their political bosses Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi. The BJP believes this was a violation grave enough to render the oath-taking invalid.

However, the BJP seems to have woken up a little late since the trend had already been witnessed in the Lok Sabha during the swearing-in of the newly elected members in June this year.

It was the BJP members who had started the “violations”, which almost triggered a war of slogans despite repeated pleas from the Chair.

While chants of “Modi, Modi” had erupted every now and then, slogans such as “Jai Sri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki jai” had continued throughout the swearing-in.

Trinamul members had countered the BJP’s sloganeering with “Jai Bangla, jai Mamata, jai Kali”, while some Muslim members had responded to the relentless “Jai Shri Ram” chants by invoking “Allah”, “Bhim” and “Bismillah”.

A Biju Janata Dal member had ended his oath with “Jai Jagannath, jai Odisha, jai Naveen, vande Utkal janani”.

Pragya Singh Thakur, BJP member and terror accused, had created a flutter by adding her guru’s name to hers while taking the oath, prompting the pro-tem Speaker to interrupt her. “Pragya Singh Swami Purna Chetanand Avdheshanand Giri” is how she had introduced herself.

Another BJP member, Shantanu Thakur, wanted to take the oath in the name of Purnabrahma Harichand, who he said was his God.

If all this didn’t prompt the President or the Lok Sabha Speaker to declare the oaths invalid, it would now be difficult to explain how invoking Shivaji, Phule or Ambedkar merited the governor nullifying the Maharashtra swearing-ins.

Uddhav, however, will need to do some fine balancing while allotting the ministerial portfolios.

While the issue of Ajit Pawar becoming deputy chief minister remains a concern, the NCP has demanded both the key departments of home and finance.

The Congress has set its sights on power, revenue, education and rural development, leaving the public works department and urban development for the Sena. – SIT submits investigation report on 186 Sikh genocide cases to Supreme Court

By Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 30 November 2019. On 29 November, the Special Investigation Team constituted to re-probe 186 cases pertaining to the 1984 Sikh genocide has completed its investigation. The Supreme Court of India took on record the confidential report filed by SIT.

Notably, the Supreme Court of India had constituted this Special Investigation Team in January last year to probe these 186 cases which were earlier closed by the respective probe teams.

The former Delhi High Court Judge S N Dhingra was chosen to spearhead this SIT. Initially, three members were appointed in this SIT but one of the SIT member named Rajdeep Singh had refused to be a part of this SIT. Later, the SC had given permission to the SIT to work with two members namely Judge S N Dhingra and IPS officer Abhishek Dular.

The Supreme Court’s move has come in response to a petition moved by a genocide victim Gurlad Singh Kahlon.

Pinky Anand, the additional solicitor general of India, submitted this report to the Supreme Court bench in a sealed cover and requested the Court to discharge the SIT members.

Appearing for victims, senior counsel HS Phoolka opposed the request to disband the SIT before the court examines the SIT report. He also asked for a copy of the report to be supplied to him.

SIT submits investigation report on 186 Sikh genocide cases to Supreme Court

Gent-Sint-Pieters and Brustem Celebration of the 550th Janam Din of Guru Nanak Sahib

17 November 2019

Train to Landen via Aalst – Brussel – Brussel Airport and Leuven
From Landen we travelled to Sint-Truiden by bus

Sunday morning peace and quite

The part finished platform along tracks 8 and 7

If it wasn’t for the bright sunshine you would be able
to see the two finished new platforms along
track 12 and 11 and along track 10 and 9

Brustem – Sint-Truiden – Limburg – België
Brustem airport – Divan in hangar !
17 November 2019

I arrived at about 10 am when there was only a small sangat

Later: Many people queuing up
to pay respect to the Guru Granth Sahib

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Deccan Herald – Akali MLA blackens Aurangzeb Lane’s signboard in Delhi

New Delhi – India, 01 December 2019. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa along with other Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) members blackened Aurangzeb Lane signboard in Lutyens’ Delhi on Sunday and demanded removal of Mughal emperor’s name from name from road signages and textbooks.

Aurangzeb was a “murderer” who killed Guru Tegh Bahadur and tortured Guru Gobind Singh’s sons, Sirsa said. “People need to be reminded of Aurangzeb’s bloody past on this day of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom day,” Sirsa said justifying his action.

The DSGMC president said the central government and states should ensure that no roads were named after Aurangzeb and he was not taught in school and colleges

“It is surprising that Aurangzeb was glorified despite his atrocities on Sikh gurus. There should be a debate in the Parliament over who is responsible for this,” he said. The Mughal emperor was “systematically” glorified after Independence, and not only roads were named after him, he is taught in school and colleges, Sirsa said.

Sirsa was accompanied by Akali Dal leader Harmeet Singh Kalka, Kulvant Singh Baarh and Vicky Mann. Notably, in 2015, the NDMC had renamed Aurangzeb Road as APJ Abdul Kalam Road on the former president, but the lane’s name remained the same.

Aurangzeb did a great service to the Marathas in the south and the Sikhs and others in the north. His continuous warfare exhausted the coffers of the Delhi Darbar and he was therefore the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire. No roads or institutions should be named after him, but he should of course not being deleted from textbooks.
Man in Blue

The Print – Japan looked at situation in Kashmir ‘very carefully’ & hopes for a peaceful resolution

The Japanese Foreign Ministry’s comments came a day after India & Japan held their first foreign & defence ministerial dialogue to broad-base strategic ties.

New Delhi – India, 1 December 2019. Japan on Sunday said it looked at the situation in Kashmir “very carefully” and hoped that a peaceful resolution to the issue will be found through dialogue.

The comments by a spokesperson of the Japanese Foreign Ministry came a day after India and Japan held their first foreign and defence ministerial dialogue under a new framework to further broadbase strategic ties.

“I do not remember the ministers going into the detailed discussion on the specific issue,” Deputy Press Secretary in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Atsushi Kaifu told reporters when asked whether the Kashmir issue figured in the talks.

“But at the same time, I can say we looked at the situation there very carefully. We are aware of the long-standing differences of views with regard to Kashmir. We hope a peaceful resolution will be found through dialogue,” he said.

Asked about uncertainty over the Japan-backed bullet train project from Mumbai to Ahmedabad after a new government came to power in Maharashtra, the spokesperson said officials of both the countries are working on it and that challenges occur in large projects.

To a question on China’s growing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea, Kaifu said freedom of navigation and overflight must be ensured in the region, asserting that Japan does not compromise on security and maritime issues.

“Japan and China now have a lively relationship, but we do not compromise on security and maritime issues including on the South China Sea,” he said, adding that Japan has been trying to engage China in various ways and both countries are working on a bilateral visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan next year.

On Saturday, India and Japan, under the new framework of two-plus-two dialogue, discussed a raft of strategic issues, including the threat posed to regional security by terror groups operating from Pakistan, latest developments in the disputed South China Sea and evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar led the Indian delegation while the Japanese was headed by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Minister of Defence Taro Kono.

Asked whether the 5G spectrum issue figured in the talks, Kaifu said it was briefly touched upon in the context of cooperation in the digital sphere. Beijing has been urging New Delhi to make an independent decision on allowing its telecom giant Huawei to participate in India’s 5G trial.

The US has banned Huawei, the world leader in telecom equipment and the number two smartphone producer, over concerns of security and Washington has been pressuring other countries to restrict the operations of the company.

On India’s decision to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the spokesperson said the countries of the grouping were trying to resolve New Delhi’s concerns as decided at its meeting in Bangkok last month.

Asked whether Japan was keen on carrying out development projects in Arunachal Pradesh, Kaifu said both India and his country were keen on rolling out connectivity projects in the North Eastern region.

Careful deliberations are on about possible areas of engagement, he said.

China has been opposed to any foreign-funded projects in Arunachal Pradesh as it claims the state to be part of its southern Tibet.

Kaifu said Saturday’s talks also laid the ground for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India this month for annual summit level talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Referring to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s visit to India few days back, he said the island nation is a key country for maritime security cooperation and that Japan was also trying to expand cooperation with it.

Talking about growing Indo-Japan ties, the Japanese foreign ministry spokesperson also said that both countries can join hands to carry out projects in African continent.

Japan looked at situation in Kashmir ‘very carefully’ & hopes for a peaceful resolution