Maha Vikas Aaghadi gets 35 Ministers in Cabinet Expansion

The long-pending expansion of the Maha Vikas Aaghadi government took place on December 30 at the Vidhan Bhawan Complex. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office to 25 Cabinet Ministers and 10 Ministers of State (MoS)

Crux of the Matter
  • The Shiv Sena got 12 Ministers (8 Cabinet and 4 MoS), while the NCP took 13 Ministers, with 9 Cabinet and 4 MoS. The Congress has 10 Ministers (8 Cabinet and 2 MoS).
  • Ajit Pawar took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister after more than a month he had allied with the BJP to become the Deputy CM.
  • CM Uddhav Thackeray’s son and first-time MLA Aaditya Thackeray took oath as a cabinet minister.
  • Former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit Deshmukh took oath as a cabinet minister.
  • Cabinet has four Muslim Ministers, including, Nawab Malik, Hasan Mushrif, Aslam Sheikh and Abdul Sattar
  • Major names who took the oath included former CM Ashok Chavan, NCP’s Dilip Walse Patil, Jitendra Awhad, Vishwajit Kadam, Bacchu Kadu, Rajesh Tope, Varsha Gaikwad, Satej Patil, Vijay Vadettivar, Anil Deshmukh and Dr Rajendra Shingane and Sanjay Rathod.
  • CM Uddhav Thackeray said, “the portfolio allocation will be done in a day or two.
  • According to the power-sharing formula agreed on by the three parties, the Shiv Sena would have 16 ministers (apart from CM), NCP 14 and the Congress 12.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi is a political coalition formed after the 2019 Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election under the leadership of Sharad Pawar of the NCP, Uddhav Thackeray of SS and Sonia Gandhi of INC along with the support from the SP, PWPI, Prahar Janshakti Party and several other political parties including Independent MLAs. Uddhav Thackeray was elected as a leader of the MVA after a meeting on 26 November 2019. He took the oath of the office and secrecy on 28 November 2019 as the 19th chief minister of Maharashtra state. The alliance was formed by non-NDA political parties in Maharashtra as a result of 2019 Maharashtra political crisis where the BJP and Shiv Sena failed to form a government due to differences on the position of the CM. More Info

Nicola Sturgeon Calls for Second Referendum in Scotland

After Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) won 47 of Scotland’s 59 seats in British Parliament, its leader Nicola Sturgeon on December 13 has said that she would make a move to put forward a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Crux of the Matter
  • The SNP plans to begin moving toward a referendum next week.
  • In the first referendum in 2014, Scottish voters has decisively voted to “Remain” in the EU in the first vote on the Conservative’ Brexit plan.
  • SNP is keen that Prime Minister Boris Johnson must give Scotland the power to vote on independence.
  • Nicola Sturgeon after her landslide victory said, “I have just won an election on the strength of the argument that it’s Scotland’s right to choose.”
  • Sturgeon also directed the Scottish government to “publish the detailed democratic case for a transfer of power to enable a referendum to be put beyond legal challenge.”
  • On social media, supporters of Scottish independence expressed support for Sturgeon’s referendum plan.
  • Sturgeon said, “I accept regretfully that Johnson has a mandate for Brexit in England. But he has no mandate whatsoever to take Scotland out of the European Union. Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands.”
  • Political experts consider a possible break-up of the United Kingdom as both Ireland and Scotland signal of a shift away from the U.K. Brexit plan.

The Scottish National Party is a Scottish nationalist, social-democratic political party in Scotland which was founded in 1934. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence within the European Union. It is the third-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and the Conservative Party; it is the third-largest by overall representation in the House of Commons with 47 out of 59 seats. It also has the most seats in the Scottish Parliament. The current Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has served as First Minister of Scotland since November 2014. The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of both seats in the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments, and membership, reaching 125,482 members as of August 2018, 35 MPs and over 400 local councillors. More Info

West Bengal, Kerala & Punjab Refuse to Implement CAB in the State

Citizenship Amendment Bill

After West Bengal and Punjab governments strongly opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan termed the bill “unconstitutional” in nature and decided not to implement the bill in the state of Kerala.

Crux of the Matter
  • Since the very beginning, West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee has been against the CAB and she was the first one to take a decision on December 11 to not implement the law in West Bengal.
  • Following West Bengal and Kerala, Punjab on December 12 decided not to implement the law. CM Captain Amarinder Singh said, “the Congress will use its two-thirds majority in the state assembly to block the ‘unconstitutional’ bill.
  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “the state will not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of religion. We will not implement the lopsided law which is meant to divide people.”
  • Kerala CM also alleged that the law is a ploy to convert India into a Hindu nation and influenced by the RSS.
  • The opposition parties assure that the law will not stand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.

Pinarayi Vijayan is the current Chief Minister of Kerala and is a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He was selected as the leader of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and became the 12th Chief Minister of Kerala.

Mamata Banerjee is the current Chief Minister of West Bengal since 2011 being the first woman to hold the office. She founded the party All India Trinamool Congress in 1998 after separating from the Indian National Congress and became its chairperson.

Captain Amarinder Singh is the 15th and current Chief Minister of Punjab. His father was the last Maharaja of the princely state of Patiala. He also served in the Indian Army from 1963 to 1966.

Supreme Court Dismisses All Petitions to Review Ayodhya Verdict

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde, on December 12 dismissed 19 review petitions of the apex court’s November 9 verdict on Ayodhya Ram Mandir case and said, ‘We have carefully gone through the review petitions and the connected papers filed therewith. We do not find any ground, whatsoever, to entertain the same.’

Crux of the Matter
  • The bench led by the CJI constituted of Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna. 
  • Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, president of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind filed a review petition on 14 counts and asked for “complete justice” by directing reconstruction of Babri Masjid.
  • Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha sought a limited review of the verdict against the direction to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque in Ayodhya. It also sought deletion of findings declaring the disputed structure as a Mosque.
  • Review petition filed by the Nirmohi Akhara demanded a clarification on its role and representation in the trust to be set up by the government for the Ram temple construction, was not listed in front of the bench on Thursday as it was filed only on Tuesday.
  • A petition filed by 40 persons which prominently include Irfan Habib, Harsh Mander, Farah Naqvi said the verdict had a direct impact on the secular fabric of the country.

Ayodhya dispute was a political, historical and socio-religious debate in India, centred on a plot of land in the city of Ayodhya, located in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh. The issues revolved around the control of a site traditionally regarded among Hindus to be the birthplace of Rama; the history and location of the Babri Masjid at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque. The Babri Masjid was destroyed during a political rally which turned into a riot on 6 December 1992. The SC on November 9 gave its final verdict in the long-pending case and ordered Ram Mandir to be built over the disputed land. More Info

TMC Wins all 3 Seats of West Bengal Assembly By-Polls

In a major setback to the BJP, Trinamool Congress (TMC) won all three assembly bye-elections seats which went to poll on 25th November and whose results were declared on 28th November. The BJP was able to retain its Pithoragarh seat in Uttarakhand.

Crux of the Matter
  • Two assembly constituencies in West Bengal Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur were vacant after the Lok Sabha elections as the sitting MLAs were elected as MPs. The Pithoragarh by-poll was conducted due to the death of sitting MLA Prakash Pant in June.
  • The TMC’s Tapan Deb Singha won the Kaliaganj seat in north Bengal for the first time by bagging 97,248 votes and defeated the BJP’s Kamal Chandra Sarkar by a margin of 2,414 votes.
  • TMC also won in Kharagpur Sadar by defeating the BJP by a margin of more than 20,000 votes.
  • In the Karimpur constituency, TMC’s Bimalendu Sinha Roy secured 1,03,728 votes and won by a margin of 23,910 over the BJP’s Jay Prakash Majumdar.
  • BJP’s Chandra Pant bagged 26,086 votes and retained its Pittorgarh seat by a margin of 3267 votes to its Congress rival Anju Lunthi who secured 22,819 votes.
  • West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamta Banerjee reacted to the results by saying it is a victory in favour of ‘secularism and unity’ and against ‘NRC’.

The All India Trinamool Congress is an Indian political party in India The party is led by its founder and current chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee. Following the 2019 general election, it is currently the fifth largest party in the Lok Sabha with 22 seats. After being a member of the Indian National Congress for over 26 years, Mamata Banerjee formed her own party of Bengal, which was registered with the Election Commission of India in 1999. The Election Commission allotted to the party an exclusive symbol of Jora Ghas Phul. Election commission recognized AITC as a national political party in September 2016. More Info