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CAB issue raise in Zero Hour – Is our MP think he can take an excuse from the act?

Something is better than nothing. Manipur MP Dr. Ranjan showed concern to the sentiment of the people in the wake of the Union Government effort to introduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019 in the ongoing Lok Sabha session. The MP from the Inner Manipur Parliamentary constituency drew the attention of the house during Zero hour on Thursday about the need for insertion or an exemption clause in the proposed CAB to protect the indigenous people of the state.
Well, the agenda for introduction of CAB has already flared up large scale protest in the entire states of North East India since 2016. No doubt the BJP included the introduction of the CAB in their election manifesto of the last Lok Sabha election and they won. Forgetting the assurance by the Chief Minister of Manipur for urging the center to insert a clause for exemption Manipur from the purview of the CAB, many hard core BJP workers including a Minister who is also the spokesperson of the state made contradictory statement on CAB issue and have been trying to suppress the voice of the people against the introduction of the CAB. What is more interesting is that some bakhs of the BJP even consider the wining of the BJP candidate in Inner Manipur Parliamentary seat as a mandate for passing of CAB without having any understanding that last Lok Sabha election was not a referendum for CAB as there are many issues other than CAB. Besides, peoples’ apprehension about the CAB has been diverted for some time with the assurance from the Chief Minister of Manipur. This is being reminded to make the elected MP Dr. Ranjan and the BJP workers, that CAB is an issue that the people of the state has been seriously opposing since the time it was introduced in the last Lok Sabha in 2016.
The question is – how serious is our MP Dr. RK Ranjan to this issue of CAB which has a tendency to spark another mass protest from the people of the state. Well on November 14 this year, talking to media at the sideline of a club building inauguration function at Bamol Leikai in Imphal East, Dr. Ranjan had stated that it is not his duty to go in the street for protest but it is his responsibility for putting up the matter of public concern to the Parliament (Lok Sabha) as he is a member of the house. This was on record and he was replying to a question raised by a journalist in connection with the alert protest being organised under the COCOMI in the backdrop of the final settlement of Naga Issue.
Now, what we in the Imphal Times would like to know from the Lok Sabha Member Dr. RK Ranjan is that, if he is so serious about the sentiment of the people why didn’t he raised any question in connection to the ongoing peace talk between the NSCN-IM and the government of India during question hour or why not he demanded a short discussion to the issue. MP from Arunachal Pradesh Tapir Gao had raised a question on the present status of the Framework agreement signed between the GoI and the NSCN-IM in the parliament session. He also sought clarification from the concern Minister to let the house know on whether the government of India has agreed for integration of the Naga inhabited area at different states bordering Nagaland.
Well at another case, a BJP MP from Darjeeling Raju Bista raise a star question at the Parliament in connection with the Health of  Loktak Lake and well being of the surrounding villages/ farmers during question hour on Wednesday. As it was a star question the concern Minister gave proper reply.
Now, the onetime scholar, an academician and had served as Registrar of the Manipur Universities, besides his yearlong activism for protection of environment , DR. Ranjan only put up serious matter concerning Manipur in ‘Zero Hour’ . Whether the new MP have idea of Zero hour or is he assuming that people of the state have no knowledge of Zero Hour is a matter yet to be find out.
It is good that the  MP Dr. Ranjan at least spoke about the sentiment of the people on CAB. But the question is that will his statement be heard or recorded in the parliamentary proceedings. Will his concern be taken into account by the concern Home Minister and if so why no answer from the Union Home Minister.
 “Zero Hour” is not formally recognised in parliamentary procedure. However, Speaker, Lok Sabha / Chairman, Rajya Sabha may allow or decline a Member to raise a matter of importance. For which, Members need to give prior notice before 9.00 am, that is before starting the seating . Only 20 such matters are being allowed to raise within time frame of 60 minutes at 12.00 noon in Lok Sabha.
However, on Thursday for the first time Lok Sabha saw the Speaker OM Birla allowing 162 members to speak of their concern  for around 4 hours and 48  minutes. This is a privilege given to the Speaker of the parliament.
“Zero Hour” however is not recognized in the parliamentary procedure. Proceedings during Zero Hour, the members of both the Houses get a chance to raise matters of public importance that need immediate attention. Only after the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs gives assurances on the issues raised during ‘Zero Hour’, the relevant extracts from the proceedings are sent to the concerned ministry on the same day. The ministry takes over from there and initiates actions as deemed fit. Even if no assurance of action is given, the extracts are sent to the concerned departments. They may reply to the members after intimating the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
The Government is not obliged to answer the questions raised during the Zero Hour.
 

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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