In Parliament, CPI(M) cries foul over proxy voting for NRIs, allegations over Kerala violence | India News

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In Parliament, CPI(M) cries foul over proxy voting for NRIs, allegations over Kerala violence | India News

NEW DELHI: Members of parliament representing the CPI(M) and BJP clashed in Lok Sabha on Thursday when CPI(M) leaders raised objections to remarks made by BJP members over political violence in Kerala.

Senior CPI(M) leader P Karunakaran took exception to BJP members referring to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and the party as “terrorists” in the House. Karunakaran said the Kerala CM had held meetings with RSS, Left and other stake holders to put an end to the political violence, adding that many Left workers had also been killed over the years.

Following the heated exchanges in which CPI(M) members protested against the remarks made by two BJP members’ during the Zero Hour on Wednesday, Karunakaran cited rules and said BJP MPs cannot name or attack those who are not present in the House. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House in the din that followed.

Addressing a press briefing later, CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim said, “What we are witnessing is the squeezing of the democratic rights of members to speak. After the adjournment, the House should have resumed business from where the proceedings were let off. Karunakaran had not finished his speech. However, his right to speak was curtailed. Earlier too, when the opposition sought a discussion on mob lynchings, it was combined with a discussion on political violence, which in our opinion should have been discussed separately.”

On Thursday, Rajya Sabha MP and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also demanded that the government should immediately withdraw the decision to allow proxy voting rights to NRIs. He said the decision presented a “high risk of manipulation and misuse.”

“Proxies can be collected against promises of jobs. This decision has serious consequences and CPI(M) opposed this during the meeting with the Election Commission, earlier,” Yechury said. The CPI(M) general secretary also said the Left had recommended to the government that NRIs, if they have to be granted voting rights, may be asked to visit Indian missions abroad to exercise their franchise, where the EC could set up polling booths and deploy its officials. “The US, Australia and France already have this model. Why can’t India follow suit?”, Yechury said.

The CPI(M) also protested against the discriminatory taxation rates under the GST, saying that while the government had exempted Tirupati laddoos from tax, the ‘langar’ at Gurudwara‘s was being subject to tax. “The GST collections will go to the Consolidated Fund of India, for which there is no approval of the Parliament or from the states. We hoped that the government would respond, but it hasn’t, so far,” Yechury said.

In Lok Sabha, however, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the GST council was open to modifying tax slabs following a review and that the government had already incorporated several changes to the tax slabs since it was implemented on July 1.

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