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The Goods and Service Tax Bill hailed today by the ruling party as one of the biggest fiscal reforms since independence was passed by the parliament finally. The same Prime Minister Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat, during UPAs tenure, was vehemently in opposition to the introduction of this reform. The BJP stalled the Parliament and opposed with all its might the possibility of the GST umpteen number of times during the UPA tenure. It has finally understood its folly and is now trying to take credit for the efforts of the UPA II. There are inherent contradictions in the interest of the states and the center both of which want to increase their revenue. But having a uniform tax structure across the nation opens up the possibilities of an even spread making India into one market. Also it merges all taxes to reduce the burden of a trader of having to file many returns and face multiple authorities. The delays caused by toll plazas that hamper the free movement of goods across the country and consume valuable time would automatically stop to exist. Even though this was the brainchild of UPA II and first introduced in Lok Sabha in 2010, after a seven-year delay it has finally seen the light of the day, once again helped by the cooperation of the Congress. There are many issues left unaddressed and the ruse of naming these bills as money bills in the Lok Sabha, so that the Rajya Sabha cannot add its wisdom to bring about those changes that seem important is indeed unfortunate. It was an appeal of the former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in the house not to delay the bill that prompted Congress not to press for some amendments, which were considered important. The thought prevailed that the anomalies will finally get effected as the issues crop up after implementation. The BJP was hell bent on bulldozing without consideration of even justified amendments. The UPA has hailed the introduction of GST and wished that the seven years were not lost due to the obstinacy of BJP specially the PM Modi as CM Gujarat. The country has lost thousands of crores in the meanwhile besides the loss of opportunities especially in the view of changed world economic circumstances.

A delegation of various Opposition parties led by Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Opposition parties on 12th April, 2017 met President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his urgent intervention “to protect constitutional democracy and fundamental rights” of citizens. “An environment of fear and insecurity is prevailing in the country and voices of dissent are being muzzled by passage of money bill in Parliament. Key bills are being disguised as money bill to bypass and undermine the constitutional position of Rajya Sabha.” A detailed memorandum was submitted to the President focusing on the highhandedness of the ruling regime in the name of Hindutva agenda. An atmosphere of fear prevails in the country.

Several leaders of the parties in opposition have raised a doubt on the veracity of the EVM machines used in elections. The issue is not whether the machines have suddenly become a cause for concern but leaders have raised such a concern from time to time. It is only correct that the Government and especially the Election Commission should make sure that the fears of the opposition are allayed and the confidence on the machines is restored. This is not the issue of any one political party but concerns the entire nation since the veracity of results should not undermine the confidence of the voting public.

This year we celebrate the Hundredth year of the movement at Champaran, which started the journey of Gandhi ji to fight for independence from the British rule. The first Satyagraha movement inspired by Mohandas Gandhi occurred at Champaran in Bihar and Kheda in Gujarat during 1917 to 1918. A function was held at Champaran that was attended by Congress Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi. Speaking on the occasion he said Gandhi ji realized that people in power aren’t essentially always right. It is always possible that the one who rules can many times stray from the correct path. Gandhi ji realized that India couldn’t progress without Independence.

The nation celebrates the 126th Birth anniversary of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Revisiting, and reaffirming our commitment to his ideas is perhaps the greatest tribute we can pay to him. Addressing the Constituent Assembly in January 1950 he incisively argued that “in politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one-man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value”. Prime Minister Nehru included him along with other intellectuals in his cabinet to give the best start to the country. Dr. Ambedkar was much revered by the backwards as he stood solidly for their rights and did his best to provide for their salvation both in the discussions at the assembly as well as made provisions in the constitution. What he said then broadly holds true even today after almost seven decades.

The nation also remembers Babu Jagjivan Ram, a stalwart and the popular leader of the Dalits and a nation builder on his birth anniversary. Babuji as he was popularly known was a highly qualified leader who first got elected as a member of Bihar Vidhan Parishad in 1935. In the post independence India Babuji has left an indelible mark as a nation builder.

The BJP’s fringe parties headed by recognized and well-placed leadership of the Political Wing of BJP are raising their head like the Hydra across the country. It is being done in the name of establishing the rule of the Hindu majority thinking. The happenings in Uttar Pradesh in the name of Romeo Squad or the Gau Rakshaks and other moral policing to stop conversions when none are happening establish the portent of things to come.

Cow is revered in the thinking of majority of Hindus and has been recognized as such even by the Congress Governments from time to time. But every person of a different community who owns a cow only owns it for slaughter is a way of establishing the hegemony amongst the ruffian groups who have arisen specially after the recent thumping BJP victory in Uttar Pradesh and installation of Yogi as Chief Minister. CM Yogi has been leading such organizations for a long time..

The Barbarous assault and death of an innocent man in the name of Cow Vigilantism at Alwar under the pretext of prevention of cow smuggling is a blatant act of hooliganism with the support of the Government. The brazen act of the BJP Minister Naqvi to brush the dirt under the carpet by denying any such happening on the floor of the Parliament was shocking and displayed the extent of support of the Government to such mobs. This is a reflection of the thinking of the Modi lead BJP Government. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said,”. …anybody who does not agree with Narender Modi or RSS has no place in India. That’s the vision.” He said tragedies of huge proportion occur when Government “ abdicates responsibility.” The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha expressing his displeasure on conflicting statements and the huge hue and cry of the entire opposition ordered a detailed probe and asked for a report to the parliament. He said conflicting reports are being made on the floor of the house and it is therefore important that a probe be made and the Parliament informed.

It is unfortunate that fringe elements within the Sangh Parivar have been emboldened to take law into their own hand on one pretext or the other. It is not as if a new government has been elected in UP, it is as if a King has been anointed and his will, will prevail. Governments come and Governments go. It is a democracy that is ruled under a constitution and there used to be a rule of law. This unfortunately does not prevail anymore. Modi ji and Yogi ji and Mohan Bhagwat are providing lip service. But no one has been punished so far or expelled from the party for these acts of lawlessness. Obviously they have the tacit consent of the leadership and are acting under their veiled instructions.

 Under the vision of the BJP leadership no one is allowed to carry out legitimate activity as per law if it suits the Hindutva objective of the fringe. No young people have a right to interact with each other under the guise of protection of women. Those who used to eve tease,and were abhorred by women are now taking advantage of the new found vigilantism to carry out their ways of scaring young women. For what the girls could earlier file complaints are now under the protection of the law.

If the BJP does not mend its ways and understand what they are leading up to, the country will face problems for decades to come when Modis and Yogis are names of history. The rule of law must prevail. Those who are empowered to up hold law should not go overboard to please their new masters and diligently carry out their responsibility.