DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2019, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 20 PAGES DIVYA KUMBH BHAVYA KUMBH SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM CONSTITUTION (ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOURTH AMENDMENT) BILL Eyeonpolls,Govtmovestoprovide 10%quotatoeconomicallyweaker Why this opens new front, many possibilities in run-up to LS polls SHALINI NAIR & RAVISH TIWARI THE IDEAS PAGE Targets upper caste poor; will benefit families below annual income of Rs 8 lakh, with land holding below 5 acre RAVISH TIWARI NEW DELHI, JANUARY 7 NEW DELHI, JANUARY 7 THE BAROMETER OF DEMOCRACY BY RAJNATH SINGH PAGE 11 WORLD MYANMAR: ARMY TO LAUNCH CRACKDOWN ON RAKHINE REBELS THAILAND HALTS PLAN TO EXPEL SAUDI TEEN BARRICADED IN HER HOTEL ROOM PAGE 15 IN A significant move ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to address demands of “the economicallyweakersectionsof thepeople who are not covered by any of the existing schemes of reservation”,theBJP-ledNDAgovernmentMondaydecidedtoamend the Constitution to provide 10 per cent reservation for the general category EWS in direct recruitment for government jobs and admission to higher educational institutions. Sources said the 10 per cent reservation will be in addition to the existing 50 per cent reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, taking total reservation to 60 per cent. Amongthesectionsittargetsare the poor among the upper castes. A legislation in this regard, sources said, is likely to be introduced on Tuesday. On Monday, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal for introduction of The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty- His govt is likely to introduce the Bill today Fourth Amendment) Bill, extending the benefits of quota to “the economically weaker sections of the people who are not covered by any of the existing schemes of reservation”. Any Constitutional amendment will require special majority of two-third of members presentforvotingineachHouse, and not less than half the strengthinboth.Itwillhavetobe ratifiedbyatleasthalf of thestate legislatures. The government may also have to prepare for any legal challenge to the validity of the Constitutional amendment. Sources said new clauses would be added to Articles 15 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THEDECISIONof theBJP-ledgovernment to amend the Constitution to provide 10 per centquotainjobsandhighereducationforthepooramongcommunitiesnoteligibleforreservation opens a new front that is likelytoplayoutintherun-upto the Lok Sabha elections. For the ruling BJP, the move seems to have been crafted with an eye on Lok Sabha elections in a few months from now, with an aim to leave behind the party’s defeat in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Apart from claims of affirmative action for economically weaker sections, the move appears to be an attempt by the BJP to open fresh opportunities given the re-energised Opposition. In particular, it signals a bid to wrest control of the pre-poll narrative and throw the Opposition off balance. IN ADDITION TO EXISTING 50% QUOTA WHO BENEFITS ■ Families with annual income below Rs 8 lakh, across all religions ■ Families with farm land below 5 acre, house less than 1,000 square feet, or less than 100 yard plot in notified municipal area, plot below 200 yard in non-notified municipal area THE BILL ■ Cabinet approves introduction of The Constitution (One “Everyone was talking about the narrative.Letussee what happens now,” a senior government functionary said, suggesting that the ruling party hopes toriseabovetheOpposition-dictatednarrativeaheadof thepolls. The political backdrop of the movemay,however,suggestthat CBI vs CBI: SC verdict on Alok Verma plea today Hundred and Twenty Fourth Amendment) Bill ■ 10% quota in addition to existing 50% reservation for SCs, STs, OBCs ■ Needs special majority of two-third of members present in each House, not less than half the strength in both ■ Has to be ratified by at least half of the state legislatures ■ Legal challenge, if any, to its Constitutional validity it could be an attempt by the rulingBJPtoappeaseitscoresupport base among upper castes in the wake of the backlash the party faced over the Modi government’s stance in favour of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act last year. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FULL COVERAGE PAGES 8, 12 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY EXPRESS NETWORK AKHILESH CLEARED 13 LEASES IN A DAY DESPITE HC ORDER: CBI PAGE 9 PAGE 1 ANCHOR ABHISHEK SAHA & PRADEEP KAUSHAL GUWAHATI, NEW DELHI, JANUARY 7 THE ASOM Gana Parishad (AGP) walked out of the alliance with the BJP in Assam Monday over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,2016,afterfailingtoconvince the BJP that the Bill is a “threat” to the state and is considered to be against the basic principles of the 1985 Assam Accord. In the 126-member Assam Assembly, the ruling alliance comprised the BJP (61), the Bodoland People’s Front (13 seats)andtheAGP(14seats).The CongressandAIUDFhave25and 13 members. The AGP also had three Cabinet ministers — party president Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury. Boraannouncedthedecision to quit the alliance in Delhi after top leaders met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier in the day. “We tried to convince the Centre that the Bill is against the Assam Accord and will nullify the ongoing updating of the NationalRegisterof Citizens.But, Rajnathji told us categorically that it will be passed in the Lok Sabha tomorrow (the last day of the winter session of Parliament). After this, there is no question of the AGP remaining in the alliance,” he said. At a gathering in Tinsukia, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said: “As long as we are at the helm, we won’t push the community to uncertainty. We haveresponsibility.Wearecommitted to the interests of the indigenous people. To protect the community is our responsibility CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In UP, junior allies to BJP: Will quit alliance, we are being ignored AVANEESH MISHRA NEW DELHI, JANUARY 7 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 BJP loses Assam ally, AGP pulls out over citizenship Bill WHAT NEXT EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ASUPREMECourtbenchof Chief JusticeRanjanGogoiandJustices S K Kaul and K M Joseph will deliver its verdict Tuesday on two petitions challenging the Centre’s decision last October to ask CBI Director Alok Verma to proceedonleavefollowingabitter fallout with his No.2 Special Director Rakesh Asthana. The verdict will be pronounced 10.30 am on two petitions,onefiledbyVermaandthe other by NGO Common Cause, challenging the government’s decision. The bench had reserved its order in the matter on December 6, 2018. Along with Verma, the governmenthadalsoaskedAsthana to proceed on leave, and placed Joint Director M Nageswara Rao as interim in-charge of the agency on October 23, 2018. Intheapexcourt,thegovernmenthadcitedthefightbetween Verma and Asthana to justify its action. But Senior Counsel Fali S Nariman, appearing for Verma,contendedthatthedifferences did not happen “overnight”. He argued that authoritiesshouldhaveapproached thecommittee—comprisingthe Prime Minister, Leader of All Assam Students’ Union activists protest against the Citizenship Bill in Guwahati, Monday. PTI REPORT,PAGE8 LUCKNOW, JANUARY 7 THE EDITORIAL PAGE THE RESERVATION JUMLA A jubilant Indian team after sealing their 2-1 series win in Sydney, Monday. Reuters REPORTS,PAGES16,17 BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 10 HOURS AFTER the Asom Gana Parishad(AGP)walkedoutof the BJP alliance in Assam, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and Apna Dal (Sonelal) Mondaythreatenedtopartways if the BJP did not change its attitude to smaller parties in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh. While Backward Classes Welfare minister and SBSP chief OmPrakashRajbhargavetheBJP a 100-day ultimatum to fulfil his demands of implementing reservation within the 27 per cent OBC quota, Apna Dal (S) coordinator and Union Minister Anupriya Patel said that her party may take “any decision” if Apna Dal (S) leader Anupriya Patel in Lucknow, Monday. Vishal Srivastav the state BJP leadership continued to ignore her party workers. “Every time there is an election, the BJP gets votes with help from allies. Later, they refuse to take the allies along. The Apna Dal has come to know this now but I know it for last 21 months. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 After 71 yrs, 11 tours, India breach Aussie Flagging ‘SP-BSP alliance’, Maya frontier, say bigger than World Cup win backs Akhilesh in mining probe EXPRESSINAUSTRALIA SANDIP G SYDNEY, JANUARY 7 UNDER GLOOMY skies and a thin sheet of rain at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Virat Kohli and his team stood on the podium, tryingtoinfusesomedramainto the proceedings. Some of them screamed, hugged each other and held the trophy aloft. But as India completed their maiden Test series win in Australia,after11toursacross71 years,thelackof theatrewasunderstandable — only 25.2 overs of play were possible on the last two days of the final Test in front of a scattered crowd of barely 1,000,amajorityof themIndians. Besides, the moment had sunk in long ago, by Sunday evening, when the day’s play was called off. Monday was a mereformality.Theyhadtosimply turn up and collect the trophy, without having to break a sweat, or even take the field. By lunch, it was certain that the match would not resume. The sky was still glum, the drizzlewasgatheringforce,andonly asectionof theIndianspectators lingered to absorb the historysoakingmoment.Thatarrivedat half past two, when the umpires called off the match. It was fitting that India etched their historic moment at the SCG, where they had endured several heartbreaks: in this century alone, Steve Waugh’s Farewell Test, the Monkey-gate Test, the whitewash in 2012 and the World Cup semifinal in 2015. What Sourav Ganguly’s men came so close to, Kohli’s batch achieved. “This teamnowhasanidentitytolook at any other Indian team from the past in the eye and say ‘We play proper Test match cricket. You did, we did, too, but without being intimidated’,” coach Ravi Shastri said. Over those 71 years, most of the teams returned with egos CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ABANTIKA GHOSH & LALMANI VERMA NEW DELHI, JANUARY 7 THEIR TIE-UP for the Lok Sabha polls is officially only at the “talks” stage, but BSP supremo Mayawati Monday gave a clear indication of where they were headed by using the words “SPBSP alliance” for the first time in a statement through which she expressed support for SP chief Akhilesh Yadav whose alleged role in a mining scam has come on the CBI radar. BSP, SP leaders at Parliament House on Monday. Renuka Puri Mayawati revealed that she had called Akhilesh Sunday to tell him not to be intimidated by the BJP’s tactics. Both the parties also came CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Hurt by WhatsApp curbs in polls, parties seek way forward KARISHMA MEHROTRA NEW DELHI, JANUARY 7 WITH THE WhatsApp forwards limit for India and a crackdown on spamming hitting political parties in the recent Assembly elections, many of them are recalibrating their WhatsApp strategyintherun-uptothegeneral election — from using international SIMs to ramping up technologicalworkaroundsinan ongoing cat-and-mouse game with the social media platform. To limit the spread of fake news following a series of incidents of lynching, WhatsApp in July announced an India-only experiment,limitingforwardsto five chats at a time. Representatives of several political parties told The Indian Express that they felt the impact of the platform’s changes during the just concluded Assembly elections. Sources aware of the platform’s inner workings say WhatsApp forwards have declined in India since the change. Vaibhav Walia, National-inCharge of Social Media of the India Youth Congress (IYC), said the forwards limit “demolished the infrastructure” of the organisation’s social media strategy, including blocking the official IYCphonenumberinthemiddle of campaigning. Similarly, in September, WhatsApp blocked an official AamAadmiPartyhelplinenumber and reinstated it only in December, “after numerous email requests” from the party, said AAP social media strategist Ankit Lal. Kapil Parmar, National Incharge of Social Media and IT for theBJP’sYouthWing,saidhehad Illustration: Mithun heard from ground workers that their ability to send mass messages was being curtailed, though the party’s national headquarters felt it would help the party focus on genuine followers. Sources say WhatsApp noticed an increase in spamming in recent months, especially by political parties. A WhatsApp spokesperson said, “WhatsApp has best-inclassspamdetectiontechnology that works around the clock to spot accounts engaging in abnormal behaviour so they can’t beusedtospreadspamormisinformation. We also rely on user reports to take action against accounts sending automated unwanted messages. In the run-up to the national election, we will continuetotakestepstoeducate users about misinformation and curb abuse of WhatsApp.” The Youth Congress’s Walia said he had heard from volunteers, party workers and state units that more than a hundred of their numbers have been blocked by WhatsApp. He calls the blocking unjustified because many of these numbers — such as the official IYC number — are published online and in pamphlets, so it’s possible that the messages are going out to those who signed up voluntarily for party content. After Walia emailed WhatsApp for support on September 15 regarding one of the blocked numbers, the platform responded two days later, sayingthenumberhad“violated our Terms of Service”. The email also said the number’s owner should“onlycommunicatewith users you know and those who CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.