The Oxford Union, a debating society founded in 1823 and located in Oxford, is one of the world’s most prestigious private students’ societies. On Wednesday, it will hold a “head-to-head” on the Kashmir issue. The Crisis In Kashmir: Should Special Status Have Been Revoked? is the topic of the debate slated for Wednesday evening. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Vice-President Baijayant Panda (pictured) will speak in favour of the motion and Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury will talk against it. The Oxford Union states while some have derided the move to scrap the provisions of Article 370 as “unconstitutional, undemocratic, and irresponsible, many in India have defended the action, arguing that it strengthens the economy and security of the state, and that special status was only ever meant to be temporary … Was this action, then, simply a misunderstood step towards greater national unity and prosperity, or an alarming act of authoritarian over-reach?”
Congress leader D K Shivakumar has drawn flak from some of his party leaders for holding the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), flag on Saturday when he returned to Bengaluru from Delhi after getting bail in a money-laundering case. Besides Congress leaders, there were those from the JD (S) waiting to receive him. Shivakumar is a Vokkaliga, the same caste as that of JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda. When he was being taken in a procession in a flower-bedecked vehicle, a JD(S) worker handed him a party flag, which the Congress leader received, waved for a while, and returned to him. A video of the incident has since gone viral. Another video of former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah criticising Shivakumar for the act, in a private conversation, is also now in wide circulation on social media. Shivakumar insisted that holding a flag was not a big deal because he was "a born Congressman".
Preserving the House
Senior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh on Monday wrote to Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, urging him not to abandon the “beautiful, unique, round” Parliament building to move into a new, modern one, as proposed by the government. In a letter to Naidu, who is chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Singh suggested changes in the Parliament building to accommodate more members. “In my view, it should be possible for us to shift unnecessary material and offices out of the present building and extend the halls to accommodate more members,” he wrote. The former Union minister also suggested that one could consider relocating the Lok Sabha to the Central Hall, where the Constituent Assembly met for several years, and shift the Rajya Sabha (RS) to the Lok Sabha hall; the existing RS hall could be used as a central hall-type lounge for members. “This would be far better than abandoning this magnificent building which is redolent with history and the memory of our great Constitution-makers and parliamentarians,” he wrote.