Still smarting from the rout in the Uttar Pradesh by-elections, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President Mayawati (pictured) is taking recourse to lame excuses to shift the blame for the defeat. While the Samajwadi Party (SP) won three of the 11 seats that went to the polls last week, the BSP drew a blank and lost the lone constituency it held to the former. Coming on the heels of the snapping of the SP-BSP alliance after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Mayawati has accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of helping the SP. Alleging the BJP had conspired to demoralise BSP workers ahead of the big fight in 2022 by letting the SP win a few seats, the Dalit czarina asserted her party would disrupt the saffron party’s designs.
Naidu's 15-point charter
Expressing concern over the functioning of legislatures in the country and erosion of public trust in them, Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday unveiled a 15-point reform charter for their effectiveness. Delivering the first “Arun Jaitley memorial lecture on strengthening of parliamentary institutions in the country” at Delhi University on Tuesday, Naidu urged political parties to ensure, through a roster system, that legislators attend at least 50 per cent of the proceedings of the legislature. He also called for a review of the “whip” to enable a reasonable degree of dissent without affecting the stability of the government. Other suggestions included reviewing the anti-defection law and reform of the parliamentary committee system. He also expressed reservations on proportional representation, arguing that it would deepen “social and political cleavages”.
Eye on the oil sector
In the backdrop of the government planning to disinvest in some oil companies, the department-related parliamentary standing committee on petroleum and natural gas has decided to study “disinvestment, mergers and acquisitions in the petroleum sector” as part of the 15 subjects it will scrutinise for 2019-20. Some of the other subjects it has taken up and will be filing its reports on are allotting retail outlets and LPG distributorship; pricing, marketing and supply of petroleum products; litigation involving oil public-sector undertakings (PSUs); contract management; and transparency in procurement procedures in oil PSUs.