Bill

Guwahati, January 10, 2019:

Once upon a time, a King had two sons, but he loved one more than the other. And thanks to his neglect for one son, the subjects lived happily ever after. Are you able to guess what we are alluding to here? If you guessed that the Father is the BJP and the two sons represent BJP’s two Bills, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, better known as the Quota Bill, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, you guessed it correctly!

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As the clock approached midnight hour on Wednesday, our national leaders were locked over the passing of Bills during the last day of the Winter Session at the Rajya Sabha.

The Upper House finally passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill which seeks to provide reservation to economically backward people from upper castes with 165 “ayes” after long discussions, deliberations and opposition.

The Bill was widely slammed as a pre-election “gimmick” by opposition leaders, who questioned the pre-Lok Sabha election timing of the Bill. Both supporters and detractors of the BJP would surely view this move as an astute ploy by the Government to win the support of the long-seething General caste who perceives the granting of reservations to minority communities/tribes as an injustice.

It can also perhaps be seen as a move to resurrect the myth of the ‘modern-day Gandhi’ that Modi has been accorded by the saffron party. BJP’s GVL Narsimha Rao was, in fact, so moved by the passing of the Bill that he hailed Modi as “a real Mahatma”.

But while the General caste and BJP supporters rejoiced and Modi Ji himself took to Twitter to express his joy at the situation, residents of Northeast, and especially Assam, were on edge as the Rajya Sabha seemed to be inching ever-closer to taking a stand on the Bill that has shaken the very foundations of our state, with protests engulfing the region in a blazing inferno.

With speculations rife that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would open the doors to ‘minorities’ in Muslim majority countries to flood the Northeastern region, strengthening the BJP vote bank, jatiyotabads of Axom were glued to the proceedings at the Rajya Sabha. But they all collectively heaved a sigh of relief when proceedings came to a standstill, confirming InsideNe’s report that the Bill would not be introduced yesterday.

The stubborn BJP had refused to listen to the will of the people and had seemed hellbent on passing the Bill at any cost. So what prompted the retreat? At this point, we can only speculate. Perhaps they were satisfied with a victory on a national scale and unwilling to open the closet full of worms that is the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill?

It can be argued that the issue will be raised again in the upcoming interim Budget session, but for the first time, perhaps, people of the North east can finally rejoice at being ignored by the high command sitting in the lush offices in New Delhi.

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