As session ends, BJP MPs protest in LS over attack on fellow MP

The Monsoon Session of Parliament wound up on Monday the way it had begun three Mondays ago — with protests. Only, this time several members from the ruling party were also part of the protests.

While BJP’s women MPs held noisy protests in and outside Lok Sabha over alleged attack on Ranjeeta Koli, fellow MP from Bharatpur in Rajasthan, another BJP member from Jharkhand sought dismissal of the state government for its alleged support to illegal activities in border districts of the state.

A Congress member, meanwhile, asked the Centre to withdraw the Agnipath scheme, arguing that it would be a compromise on national security.

Jaskaur Meena, BJP MP from Dausa, raised the issue of the alleged attack on Koli, with members of the ruling party joining Meena in denouncing the Congress government in Rajasthan over law and order issue. “A woman MP has been attacked for the fourth time,” she said, as party MPs shouted, “shame, shame”.

Koli has alleged that the mining mafia tried to mow her down with a truck and left her vehicle damaged in Bharatpur on Sunday night. She subsequently sat on dharna near Dhilawati police chowki and demanded action against illegal mining in the state.

BJP leaders led by Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and former minister Rajyvardhan Rathore — both Lok Sabha MPs from Rajasthan — protested outside Parliament House. Meghwal alleged that the son of a minister of state in Rajasthan government is hand in glove with the land and mining mafia operating in the state.

Rathore claimed that the People’s Front of India, a Muslim organisation often targeted by BJP for its alleged extremist activities, receives protection from ruling Congress in the state while events of Hindu religion such as Ram Navmi and ‘Kanwaria’ movement face curbs from the state government. “The mining mafia is ruling the roost in the state and the government has lost control over law and order,” Erathore claimed. “The state government is divided into two camps even as atrocities against Dalits and women are rising.”

Nishikant Dubey, BJP MP from Godda, Jharkhand, raised the issue of alleged “infiltration” of Bangladeshi Muslims in Jharkhand and demanded that the National Population Register (NPR) exercise be carried out in the state. and the Hemant Soren-led state government be dismissed for aiding “Islamisation” activities. Dubey alleged that Bangladeshi Muslims are looking to change the region’s demography by “marrying gullible” young women from tribal communities.

Dubey said: “I request the (Union) government to carry out NPR (in Jharkhand). There should be a National Investigation Agency office there, and since the Jharkhand government (led by Soren’s JMM) along with (ally) Congress is aiding these activities, President’s rule be applied (in the state).”

Raising a demand to withdraw the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for short-term recruitment in the armed forces, Congress MP Hibi Eden said any move to dilute the efficiency of the forces is compromising on national security. “Agniath and Agniveers are not going to be alternatives for unemployment…. This is not a way to meet the promise of giving 2 crore jobs,” Eden said.

According to the Ernakulam MP, six-month training is inadequate to serve in the forces efficiently. “We are at a juncture where we have to equip the armed forces with technological advancement and professionalism,” he said.

Pointing out that ship service linking Lakshadweep to the mainland has come down from seven ships to three, Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal PP said the UT’s new Administrator has “thrown away” a prospective plan for 15 years for transportation and cargo movement prepared jointly by the Ministry of Shipping, the Shipping Corporation of India, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and Lakshadweep Administration. “He has not followed the prospective plan. By then, ships which were proposed to come to Lakshadweep are now on a halt. I do not know the present status of the prospective plan,” he said. Faizal said the MHA should clarify the present status of the plan from 2015 to 2030.

Biju Janata Dal’S Sarmistha Sethi urged the government to scale up digital literacy programmes to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban India. She said the allocation for Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan scheme, rolled out in 2017, was meant to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate by 2019. This allocation, she pointed out, has been decreased by 16.67 per cent compared to the revised and budget estimates for 2021-22.

“This decrease in budget is especially alarming, as being digitally literate is of utmost importance in these tech-savvy times,” Sethi said. “As per ITU’s (International Telecommunication Union) World Telecom database, only 43 per cent of India’s population uses the internet. There are 58 per cent male internet users and 42 per cent female internet users.”

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