What kind of secularism is this?
Read about discussions on the issue of Governments’ taking over management of temples held during recently concluded all-India Hindu Rashtra Convention in Goa.
The Supreme Court had made it clear while passing verdict on the case of Nataraj Temple in Tamil Nadu that no secular Government has right to take over temple and keep it under control for a long period.
India Constitution is secular; therefore, it is the duty of not only central government but also state governments to maintain secularism. In that context, government does not have right to take over temples and make use of offerings made by devotees in temples, in the way government wants.
In case of malpractices observed in management of any temple, an officer may be appointed on temporary basis and once the problem is solved, temple should be handed over to devotees for management; however, the order doesn’t seem to be followed in this country.
Hundreds of temples largely visited by devotees have been taken over for many years by the Maharashtra government and funds collected in these temples have been used for government’s schemes, for ministers’ tours and other development work as per the government’s wish.
Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad has exposed, by submitting proofs, malpractices of government officers appointed on committees of temples at Shirdi, Pandharpur, Tuljapur and Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai. What kind of secularism is this where only temples are taken over but churches, mosques, dargahs are overlooked?
Sitharaman’s elevation as Finance minister
Nirmala Sitharaman’s elevation to the Finance Minister is a ‘googly’ from the Prime Minister which nobody expected. Chartered Accountant Piyush Goyal one thought was better suited for the job as he also filled in the stop gap arrangement for Arun Jaitley when he was ill and even presented the interim budget. But politics has its own compulsions and not sure if this was the right decision from Prime Minister Modi and wishing our new Finance Minister a successful tenure.
Nirmala Sitharaman had done an excellent job as Defence Minister and her replacement Rajnath Singh is equally capable to emulate her success. Amit Shah as Home Minister was expected and he deserved the portfolio for he was the man responsible for BJP’s landslide historic win in the elections.
Ace shooter and sports minister Rathod’s omission from the cabinet comes as a surprise. However, Modi is an ace task master and I am sure he would get the best out of the people chosen for the job to help India develop and progress in his new term as Prime Minister.
Elect Speaker and Deputy Speaker through secret votes
The ruling BJP with 303 Lok Sabha members further added by support from allied NDA parties is set to nominate its candidates for the post of Speaker and Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha.
But healthy system can be imitated which may be of utmost importance in time to come whereby Speaker and Deputy Speaker may be simultaneously elected through secret and compulsory votes of all members through EVMs equipped with VVPAT on nominations signed by at least 34-percent Lok Sabha members.
Such persons may be removed only through no-confidence motion passed in the same manner but with compulsion to name alternate incumbent in the same motion.
The same system should be followed in state-assemblies too. Even Chief Ministers may be selected through same system simultaneously with Speaker and Deputy Speaker to avoid all possibilities of hung assemblies and horse-trading to form or uprooting governments.
Urgent poll-reforms necessary
Odisha Chief Minister winning from two assembly-constituencies of Bijepur and Hinjili will have to resign from one of the seats thus causing extra unnecessary burden on exchequer for holding by-election.
BJP is in dilemma on its one sitting Madhya Pradesh MLA GS Damor winning for Lok Sabha also, because every single MLA is of utmost importance with Congress ruling with very thin majority that too with support from other parties. Otherwise also by-election will be needed when GS Damor will have to opt for either being MP or MLA.
Since successive governments have deferred much needed poll-reforms for decades now, at least very simple poll-reforms can be made by Election Commission of India that a sitting legislature may first have to resign from earlier seat before filing nomination for Lok Sabha elections.
Also a person may not be allowed to contest from more than one constituency. An MP must lose Parliament-membership automatically on taking oath as minister in state and vice-versa to prevent situations like Atal Bihari Vajpayee government at the center once falling by a single controversial vote of the Girdhar Gomango who did not lose his membership of Lok Sabha despite becoming Chief Minister of Odisha.
-Subhash Chandra Agrawal
Kashmir Regional imbalance
Home Minister Amit Shah has hit the ground running. In a move to bring regional imbalance to a halt, he is wasting no time in pushing his agenda for a delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir, which would result in carving out more seats for the Jammu region in the state assembly.
The delimitation will also result in determining the number of seats to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes. The task of redrawing boundaries of constituencies will be accomplished by a Delimitation Commission.
It is a right step in the right direction and will definitely erase out the regional imbalance sooner or later.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)