The Telegraph, Calcutta, reports on the serious points raised by many of our senior netas as the cabinet cleared the criminal law (amendment) bill retaining 18 as the age of consent for sex, some of whom rued that the “stricter” provisions would rob the country of romance at the consensus-seeking all-party meeting, where leader after leader seemed to betray the utmost incomprehension of terms such as “stalking”, “voyeurism” and “trafficking”:
“Mohabbat to ab khatam hi ho jaayega. Ladka jab ladki ke taraf dekhega nahi aur uska peechha nahi karega to mohabbat hoga kaise (Romance will die out now. If a boy doesn’t look at a girl or follow her, how can romance happen)?” Yadav said, according to a senior politician who was present but didn’t wish to be quoted...
...Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav took the prize. He claimed people resorting to “transfer and posting” of women at workplaces could be jailed under the bill’s provisions. Met with a chorus of denials, he held his ground and insisted he could prove it.
When he showed the “relevant portion” to leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, it left her speechless for some time.
The source told The Telegraph that Mulayam actually pointed towards the portion of the bill that deals with trafficking of women. The former chief minister had apparently confused “trafficking” with “transfer”.
“Ye mahilayon ke gair kanooni tareki se le jana aur gair kanooni kaam me lagana ke liye hai. Transfer-posting ke liye nahin (This is about illegally taking women away and forcing them into illegal professions. This is not about transferring or posting women employees),” Sushma explained. Mulayam nodded and the rest tried to suppress smiles.
Read the full report at the Telegraph: Tragedy of errors at rape law meet
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The NDA is unable to come up with the name of an acceptable name for the presidential contest against UPA's Pranab Mukherjee. The Bihar chief minister has set the cat amongst the pigeons by bringing up the question of who should be NDA's candidate for Prime Minister instead. It should be someone secular, he feels, and Bihar's deputy CM, BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi agrees. So never mind the presidency, who do you think should lead the NDA in the next Lok Sabha elections as its PM candidate?
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Excerpts from Nitish Kumar's interview to the Economic Times:
You have recently said that the next prime minister should have secular credentials. Was your comment aimed at nudging your coalition partner, BJP, to name NDA's next prime ministerial candidate?
I have explained my preference for the leader. We have projected our prime ministerial candidate in every election since 1996. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the NDA's prime ministerial nominee in 1996 and 1998. The alliance projected Atalji again in 1999 and 2004. And it was Advaniji in 2009. The NDA will have to declare its nominee. The electorate should know who they are voting for and who will lead the country. The NDA should have a leader who can feel for the underdeveloped states like Bihar. It should not be someone who can develop developed states, but who has a feel for underdeveloped states.
Do you think it is already time for NDA to name its candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls?
NDA should declare its candidate in advance. This leader should be acceptable to every constituent of the alliance. To me, the leader of the coalition should have secular credentials. It should be someone who has absolute faith in democratic values. In a multi-religious and multi-lingual country like ours, the leader should not have rough edges in his personality. An alliance can win the confidence of the people only if the leader is seen as accommodating....
You have declared Bihar out of bounds for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi...
BJP has capable leaders in Bihar to lead the alliance's campaign. We have been doing it since 1996. We don't need external assistance. We have bettered our performance in every election since 1996. I have cordial relations with Bihar BJP. But if someone is bent on spoiling this relationship, I cannot help.
Read Nitish Kumar's full interview at the Economic Times
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