Category Archives: Politics

Aadhaar – Historic SC verdict vindicates Mamata Banerjee’s stand

 

The Supreme Court has delivered a historic verdict today on whether Aadhaar should be mandatory for Indian citizens. Referring to the violation of constitutional rights, human rights and right to privacy, a number of petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court, opposing the Aadhaar Act, 2016. The Supreme Court, after a lot of deliberations, declared its verdict today.

The apex court has ruled that Aadhaar is constitutionally valid. But the authorities should be very careful about preserving the personal data and information of the citizens. A private organisation cannot seek information from citizens, the Supreme Court said. No mobile company can ask for Aadhaar card. On the whole, the Supreme Court did not mandate Aadhar to be mandatory.

A five-member Supreme Court bench has made it clear that the Aadhaar linking with the bank account is not mandatory. Last year the top court had said that privacy is a fundamental right of a person. In today’s verdict, civil rights were once again recognised.

There has already been a lot of mudslinging on the Aadhaar issue in the national political arena. Prior to coming to power in 2014, BJP was dead against Aadhaar. Their stand changed overnight after May 16, 2014. From bank accounts to the mobile numbers, availing government services to drawing pension – linking Aadhaar was made mandatory for everything under the sun. Common people were the sufferes.

And with that grew corrupt practices. Some unscrupulous organisations, in exchange for a little money, sold private data of citizens from all over the country. The only political leader who took a firm stand against making Aadhaar mandatory was Mamata Bandyopadhyay. The Chief Minister slammed the Centre for linking schemes like mid-day meals, LPG subsidy and ICDS with Aadhaar.

In 2017 she had tweeted, “Instead of helping the poorest of the poor, the downtrodden and our favourite children, why are their rights being snatched away? In the name of Aadhaar, privacy is being lost and there is extortion. Why is this Govt so negative? As a nation, we must condemn this.”

In October last year, during the core committee meeting of All India Trinamool Congress, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked the central government on the Aadhaar card issue. She said, “Under no circumstances will I link my Aadhaar with my telephone number. If the authorities disconnect my phone, let them do it. I would urge you to protest in a similar manner. How many telephone connections will they disconnect? What does BJP want? Do they want to listen to people’s secrets? It’s a direct attack on privacy.”

Today’s verdict by the SC bench again proved that Mamta Banerjee’s stand was pragmatic and in the interest of the common citizens. She was the only leader in the whole country who openly refused to link her Aadhaar to mobile number. Today, she has been vindicated. Once again it has been proved that Mamata Banerjee alone is the most prudent politician in India.

 

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my seventh post.

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Majerhat Bridge collapse – The politics of it

31 March, 2016. I vividly remember that black day. The campaign for Assembly elections was at its peak. I had just reached office in the morning. Within an hour, the TV screens were blackened with those horrific images. A section of the flyover under construction at Posta had collapsed. Nearly a hundred people had been injured. Fate had taken the lives of nearly 25 people. I had prayed to the Almighty on that day: do not make my city go through this ordeal again. Alas, that was not to be. At the turn of two and a half years, another bridge has collapsed. This time, in south Kolkata.

Majerhat can be best described as the lifeline of south Kolkata – it connect South 24 Parganas with Kolkata. Naturally, such an important intersection witnesses the footfall of lakhs of commuters daily. So, the bridge collapse in this area was tragic and unwarranted to say the least. Every death is painful, but thanks to the Almighty, this time one life was lost. Needless to say, politics – at state and national level – has taken centre stage after this tragedy.

 

 

The incident happened on 4th September, 2018. Around 4:45 PM. A section of the Majerhat bridge on Diamond Harbour road collapsed, taking with it few bikes, cars and a mini bus. As soon as the news spread, State Disaster Response Team, fire services, quick response team reached the spot. Good Samaritans in the area joined in on the rescue work. Soon, top officials of the government, including the Urban Development Minister, the Mayor of Kolkata, the Commissioner of Police, State Security Advisor reached the spot to monitor the rescue work. Thanks to the prompt action of the administration, many lives were saved.

The Chief Minister was in Darjeeling at the time. While she wanted to return to the State Capital immediately, lack of communication options in the Hills post sunset, and untoward weather prevented her from returning to the plains. While reporters harangued her for a comment on the responsibility for the incident, she maintained rescue and relief work was the priority.

However, social media and mainstream media were quick to shift to the blame game. Angry netizens were blaming the government; some were expressing their fear of other bridges collapsing in near future. There were some trolls of political parties who were talking of appeasement politics and engaged in rumour mongering.

In the midst of all this, the president of the country, the prime minister and other honchos of the ruling party at Centre started tweeting about the incident. A recently-inducted former minister called a press conference within minutes of the incident and blamed misgoverance of the State Government for this incident. It almost appeared that Majerhat was the only second bridge in the history of humanity to have collapsed. It is amusing that the same vocal BJP functionaries seemed to have lost their goat in July when an under-construction flyover in the Prime Minister’s constituency collapsed, killing 19 people.

There is no doubt that the Majerhat flyover was not maintained well. The CM herself had ordered a renovation in July. Questions arise on the role of Public Works Department. However, there are questions being raised which need answers. Did the construction work of Joka-BBD Bag metro near this bridge, and the use of vibrators, lead to the ground becoming soft? With the heavy downpour in the past one month, did the bridge collapse under pressure? Does railways not share the blame (after all this is a railway overbridge).

Questions will be answered in due course of time. Need of the hour is the safety audit of all the bridges in Kolkata and rest of the State. I have full faith in the Chief Minister that she will rise to the occasion.

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my second post.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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