July 13, 2021 2:00:33 am
Before Uttar Pradesh announced its population “balancing” plan, several party MPs had mooted this through private members Bill in Parliament. Now they are reviving those Bills. Prominent among them is Rakesh Sinha, nominated Rajya Sabha MP aligned with the BJP. Sinha’s Bill, which he had pushed in the Monsoon Session of 2019, sought to enforce a two-child norm by giving incentives for those adopting the small-family practice and penalties for those violating it. After Sinha, Ajay Bhatt, MP from Uttarakhand who just became a Union minister, had proposed that once it became a law, couples with more than two children should be deprived of all government benefits and the right to apply for a government job. Last year, actor-turned-MP from Uttar Pradesh, Ravi Kishan, also gave a notice for the same. Now that the issue is back on the party’s agenda, Sinha is pushing the private members Bill again. His is second in the list of private members Bill coming up during the session beginning July 19.
With the Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning next week, Congress president Sonia Gandhi will chair a meeting of the party’s Parliamentary strategy group on Wednesday to identify issues to be raised in the House. With the Congress leadership likely to replace Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as leader of the party in Lok Sabha, all eyes are on who will succeed Chowdhury and lead the party in the House. While Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari are said to be in the reckoning, the name of deputy leader of the House, Gaurav Gogoi, has also emerged. Some leaders are even speculating on young Punjab MP Ravneet Singh Bittu. It is to be seen whether former Congress president Rahul Gandhi will come forward and take the charge, although sources close to him are noncommittal on this possibility. .
Party Above All
Although there were indications that some senior ministers could be asked to step down in order to accommodate new faces in the Union Council of Ministers, it still came as a surprise to some of them. However, two senior ministers, who put in their papers hours before the Cabinet reshuffle on July 7, seem to be wearing their discipline and loyalty to the party on their sleeve. Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has 5 million followers on Twitter, has changed his profile on the social media site to: “Member of Parliament from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha, Bihar. BJP worker.” Prasad, who always takes pride in his legal background, does not even mention his status as a lawyer. Prakash Javadekar has made it simpler still. His Twitter profile now reads, “Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha.” Many others have mentioned their status as former minister, mentioning the portfolios they had held.
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