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Electoral reforms to be discussed in RS next week

Electoral reforms to be discussed in RS next week

New Delhi: Non-NDA political parties will take up the electoral reform issue next week in Rajya Sabha. Fourteen political parties – Trinamool Congress, Congress, BSP, RJD, PDP, Shiv Sena, CPI, CPI-M, MDMK, SP, AAP, TDP, Kerala Congress, and TRS signed and submitted the notice under Rule 176 to the Chairman on Tuesday.

One nominated member and one independent member of the Upper House have also signed the notice, sources said. All the parties have jointly demanded a free and fair election by using the paper ballot. They have demanded a short discussion on the floor of the House in the coming week.

The coordination has been done among all the parliamentary parties. TMC RS member Derek O'Brien said, "TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has been pushing a discussion on the issue. It is our prolonged demand. Therefore, we initiated the talk and supported it."

Senior parliamentarian and party veteran Sukhendu Shekhar Roy has signed the notice from TMC.

The TMC MPs also spoke on 14 important issues in both the Houses on the same day. Lok Sabha MP Kalyan Banerjee raised the issue of problems being faced by the jute industry. He requested the incumbent government to implement 100 per cent procurement policy to avoid unemployment in this sector. Satabdi Roy, another TMC Lok Sabha MP, spoke on the denial of services due to lack of BPL cards.

In Rajya Sabha, senior parliamentarian and TMC leader Manas Bhunia raised important issues like the recent bank mergers and SPG Bill. He questioned why has West Bengal been deprived by merging United Bank of India and Punjab National Bank? The state has headquarters of three important banks – United Bank of India, United Commercial Bank of India and Allahabad Bank. But the Centre recently merged several banks under one umbrella, making 10 banks into four banks. He also called PNB as a "looted" bank. Besides, he further contradicted on Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and questioned the motif behind the 'political vendetta' of the ruling government. Bhunia asserted that "The recent amendment hurts the basic sentiments of Indian politics. It is against the essence of parliamentary democracy. It fills the mind with hatred."

Later, Union Home Minister Amit Shah rejected the charges of political vendetta and said, "Government was concerned about the security of all 130 crore Indians and not just the Gandhi family."

Another TMC Rajya Sabha member Manish Gupta spoke about the merger of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, supporting the Bill. Gupta also said that it was necessary even after 70 years of Independence. "We must involve the people more readily, more objectively in the future of the nation," he added.

Simontini Bhattacharjee

Simontini Bhattacharjee

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