Edit & Opinion

Round The States

Haryana Job Quota: Of poll promise & legality

Haryana has done it! On Thursday last, the State government passed the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020 providing 75% reservation for local candidates applying for jobs in private sector which pay less than ₹50,000 per month. With it, BJP’s coalition partner JJP and Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala has fulfilled a poll promise, but a big question hangs: will Governor give assent? This, because the Bill contravenes Article 14 and 19 of the Constitution (equality before law and right to practice any profession anywhere in India) plus earlier Governor Arya’s had refused assent to a similar ordinance. And what about the private industry, societies, trusts among others which fall under its purview? Perhaps, the government is optimistic this time. It has put an exemption clause allowing firms to hire from outside if there are no ‘suitable local candidates’. But first they must inform it and get the designated officer’s nod or his advice that they be trained! Also companies may restrict jobs from any one district to 10% and domicile certificates are mandatory to claim benefits. Opinion is divided, but Chief Minister Khattar is firm the State and locals shall benefit. Time will tell. How soon is anybody’s guess as a law and not just a promise would suffice. 


Will Bihar Say Goodbye

Will it be goodbye to the kursi for Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar? On the last leg of campaigning for Assembly polls, his saying this was his “last election and all’s well that ends well…” has raised many an eyebrow. Is he, running for a 7th term, conceding defeat already? While nothing is certain till the ballot boxes are opened on November 10, the Opposition did have a field day. Mahagathbandhan’s CM candidate RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav was pleased that his earlier comment that ‘Nitish ji has worn out and unable to manage Bihar’ stands vindicated and has announced retirement having understood ground realities! Bête noire, LJP’s Chirag Paswan punched harder: “If a leader runs away from the battlefield what will his people do?” adding if Nitish thinks he will be able to escape a corruption probe, then he won’t let that happen; “if found guilty, he will have to go to jail.” Even though not in the running, Congress asked Nitish to share experiences with mahagathbandhan’s CM candidate…” But it may not be that easy or simple. On that day, PM Modi sought to counter the tide. Listing NDA’s achievements in the State, he released a letter to the people: make Nitish the winner because “I need Nitish Kumar’s government so development doesn’t stall”. Will it do the trick and the ruling establishment have the last laugh?


Over To West Bengal

Bihar polls over; it’s time to train guns on West Bengal. Home Minister Amit Shah is back on the trail, holding a meeting of 13 district leaders in Bankura on Thursday last. His target is over 200 of the 294 Assembly seats in 2021 poll and exhorts BJP cadres to tie up loose ends down to polling booth level. Expectedly it ruffled feathers and kicked off the infamous pow-vows between Shah and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. With Shah declaring that the way the TMC government has neglected farmers, the poor, tribals and oppressed people he clearly sees the death knell has been sounded and in the coming days the BJP will come to power with a 2/3rd majority, Didi in her typical style didn’t waste any time to hit back, even if it was at an administrative meeting in Writers building! She warned “We will not tolerate the politics of threat. People should stay within their limits. People of Bengal will not accept outsiders.” Anyway, the bugle has been sounded and the pitch is bound to grow shriller. The hustle and bustle of Bihar elections will be passé.


Jharkhand No To CBI

Jharkhand is the latest in the club of non-BJP-ruled States to let the Centre know it’s a no go with CBI. On Thursday last, the Hemant Soren-led withdrew the general consent given to the CBI to probe cases in the State and that investigations will be handed over now only with special permission of the State. Interestingly, it has become the 6th State to do so after Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh (which has restored it). So the going is no longer smooth. The CBI, as is known, is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act which makes consent of a State government mandatory for conducting a probe. However, as it’s becoming amply clear, Opposition States are getting wary of the misuse of the central investigating agency. Maharashtra and Kerala have recently revoked the consent after the governments feared that their probe into manipulation of TRPs and FCRA violations respectively would be taken over by the agency.  ‘A caged parrot’ may well be set free in some States but more needs to be done. Credibility must be restored.   


AIADMK-BJP Tension?

All doesn’t seem well between ruling AIADMK and ally BJP in Tamil Nadu. The saffron unit’s bid to start ‘Vetrivel Yatra’ to celebrate Tamil deity Lord Murugan turns out to be no go, as Palaniswami government has refused permission. Predictably a setback for BJP as the yatra from November 6-December 6 (starting from Thirutani and concluding in Thiruchendur) was designed to strengthen its the Hindu vote bank. On Thursday last, the government informed the Madras High Court it had denied permission in view of the pandemic and as per its order prohibiting political, religious or social gatherings till November 15. The Opposition is elated as it had demanded a ban on the yatra fearing it could lead to religious tension in the State, more so as it was to end on December 6—the 28th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition. Interestingly, the AIADMK was peeved with BJP using founder MG Ramachandran’s photograph in the yatra’s promotional campaign.  Guess, the BJP unit will need to think of something else as a “turning point” to make inroads into the State.


Diwali Sans Fire Crackers

Diwali sans fire crackers, it shall be. But the big question would be in how many States. As of now, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to ban their use as these States are hugely affected by air pollution ahead of the winter season. On Thursday last, Delhi Chief Minister has no difficulty in obliging and has already announced a ban on fire crackers; Maharashtra too may follow suit; Calcutta High Court has banned both use and sale of fireworks and crackers during Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath, after successful restrictions on Durga puja celebrations. Fingers need to be crossed that better sense prevails as with COVID-19 lungs are already compromised and further exposure to air pollutants could lead to severe infections such as pneumonia and higher mortality rate. And more States would join in to announce the much-needed ban.

 

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