Oppn to move amendments to Prez speech; TMC joins

Opposition to move amendments to President speech; TMC joins for the first time

The debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address beginning Monday in Parliament is going to be a stormy affair with the government and Opposition all set to clash on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) even as Trinamool Congress shed its decades-old reluctance to move amendments to a speech by the First Citizen.

BJP has made clear its intention by choosing its MP Parvesh Verma, who was banned for 96 hours from campaigning and removed from star campaigners list for Delhi Assembly elections for his controversial comments, to move the motion and open the debate, giving clear signals to its core constituency in Delhi and that it is not willing to a take a step backward in its attack on CAA-NPR-NRC and protests against it. 

Verma had faced the EC wrath for his comments against anti-CAA protesters in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, which the party has been highlighting in its campaign for the February 8 polls in the national capital. 

While a section of the Congress leaders want Rahul Gandhi to open the debate from Opposition side, sources said no decision has been taken. In the likelihood of the former Congress president not speaking first, party leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhary will speak first followed by Shashi Tharoor. From Trinamool Congress, sources said Saugata Roy and Mahua Moitra will speak while in Rajya Sabha, its chief whip Sukhendu Sekhar Ray will participate in the debate. 

Opposition parties like Congress, CPI(M), CPI, Muslim League and others would be moving amendments to the President's speech in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Besides other issues, the main theme of the amendments would be their Opposition to the CAA, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens.

 In a surprise move, Trinamool Congress has decided to move amendments to the President's Address, reversing its practice of not availing this Parliamentary tool since its inception in 1992 citing respect to the office of the First Citizen. 

It will be moving six amendments and two of them would be regarding CAA-NPR-NRC and protests against it. "But regret that the Address fails to acknowledge the hardships and anxieties of people caused due to the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and fails to allay the people's fear of a nationwide NRC and NPR.” 

"That at the end of the Motion, the following be added, namely: but regret that the Address fails to acknowledge the hardships of peaceful protesters including students who were illegally detained, denied medical care, lathi-charged, fired at and subjected to other forms of torture...But regret that the Address fails to acknowledge the hardships of peaceful protesters including students who were illegally detained, denied medical care, lathi-charged, fired at and subjected to other forms of torture," the two amendments said. 

Sources said Trinamool's Rajya Sabha leader Derek O'Brien and Ray have submitted their notices while similar amendments will be moved in Lok Sabha as well. 

One of the CPI(M) amendments "regret that there is no mention in the address about the attack on the heart of India" by the government by bringing in CAA-NPR-NRC. Both Trinamool and CPI(M) amendments that mentions about detention of leaders including, sitting MP (Farooq Abdullah) from Jammu and Kashmir and former Chief Ministers of the state. 

The CPI(M) amendments are moved by P R Natarajan (Lok Sabha) and T K Rangarajan, Elamarom Kareem and K K Ragesh.

Also, Opposition parties are moving notices in both Look Sabha and Rajya Sabha to suspend business to CAA. In Lok Sabha, Congress chief Whip Kodikkunnil Suresh and Gaurav Gogoi have notice. 

In Rajya Sabha, Trinamool has given notice to suspend Monday's business to discuss the 'Raging anti CAA-NRC-NRP People's Movement in India'. 

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