Hope for Cong, BJP frowns
Delhi brings a smile to the Congress and its leadership. Elections to the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) provide a ray of hope to the grand old party, which is facing Modi’s “Congress Mukt Bharat” wrath. Rizal’s famous quote “The youth is the hope of our future,” may well be its slogan for the future, following its victory in DUSU. On Wednesday last, the Congress-aligned National Students Union of India (NSUI) made a major comeback winning both the President and Vice President’s posts. The BJP obviously has a big frown and reason to worry for its linked Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), lost its grip and won the two junior posts. What is critical is that the NSUI has won the president’s post for the first time since 2012, as the ABVP has been dominating these elections for the past few years in a straight contest. Last year the ABVP had won three posts. The victory, says the Congress has proven that the youth are getting disillusioned by Modi politics and have rejected his “false promises of acche din.” The BJP retorts accusing it of “dirty tricks” by having the Left put up dummy candidates. Be that as it may, the saffron brigade should worry more as unity moves are a threat even at the national front. Youth power of the Opposition getting together could halt its bandwagon from rolling. Predictably, the Congress shall tom-tom this victory. After all ‘doobte ko tinke ka sahara’ chahiye. (those who are drowning get help of a twig)!
Trust Gujarat to now offer a new model to the country. Not only has the BJP State offered unrivalled hospitality to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie but Prime Minister Modi chose to give a new dimension to diplomacy. Harness it for the party’s fortune. The dignitary’s official visit to Gujarat and not Delhi obviously has tongues wagging. And the reason is not far to see. With Assembly polls round the corner, the two-day bonhomie is being construed to be used for political purpose, rather than diplomacy. The dazzling mega road show with students in Kimonos and Gujarati dresses and traditional dances en route the 8.5 km stretch was definitely a first not just for the people but politics too. Further, on the agenda was not only the usual Sabarmati Ashram, but surprisingly the iconic mosque, ‘Jaaliwali masjid’. It turned out to be Modi’s first visit and could be read as a subtle way of presenting his ‘secular’ credentials to the Japanese as well as reaching out to the Muslim votebank? Undeniably, there is more to the visit than meets the eye. Notwithstanding the 15 MoUs and the bullet train, time will tell whether Gujarat and its ruling party rode piggy back on India.
Arunachal Bails Out Centre
Arunachal Pradesh will come to the aid of the Centre, under criticism from the UNHRC for its plans to deport Rohingyas Muslim refugees. On Wednesday last, the Union Home Ministry along with Chief Minister Khandu finally decided to grant citizenship to all Chakma (Buddhists) and Hajong (Hindus) refugees. While this is to ‘honour’ the Supreme Court’s order of 2015, the sheer timing raises eyebrows. The refugees were originally residents of Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, who had fled following religious prosecution in 1960s and majority settled in the State. For decades several organisations have been opposing citizenship as they fear it would change Arunachal’s demography. But this may be passe’ as the Centre claims to have found a ‘middle ground’. It proposes to go back to the Court saying that while these refugees will get citizenship they will not have rights, including land ownership, enjoyed by the indigenous people. Be that as it may, the Centre has ingeniously sought to hit back at the UNHRC with the message that India is concerned about illegal migrants!
UP Slams Madrassas
Uttar Pradesh sadly has its priority all wrong. Besieged and shamed with hundreds of children dying in its government hospitals, the State administration is spending its energy in investigating the functioning of madrassas rather than putting its health sector right. On Wednesday last, its Minority Welfare Department stopped grants to 46 madrassas on grounds of “violating basic standards of infrastructure and teaching”. The State has 7,500 recognised madrasas of which 560 get government subsidy and a committee of DMs, minority welfare officers and school inspectors are entrusted with certifying use of the funds. At the same time, the Yogi Adityanath government has made it mandatory for all recognised madrassas to upload their details on a portal recently launched. For starters, in the 3-month long investigations these 46 have come under the radar for faulting on building, infrastructure, teachers etc. While the action could spark a controversy, the administration cannot be faulted for its action given the mismanagement. But the moot point is what action is the government taking to set its hospitals’ buildings, infrastructure et al right? Better it starts investigation and use a similar yardstick to check malpractice, where it matters the most.
Punjab will soon have a feather in its cap. The State’s retired Army personnel shall play a new role as ‘Guardians of Governance’ come October. This is expected to give confidence to the people that the Amarinder Singh government means business when it comes to good governance. Under the scheme, the first of its kind in the country, the personnel will act as volunteers to keep a watchful eye over projects and government departments. So far 10,000 applicants have been received for 13,094 such posts at the village level in districts starting with Amritsar, Jalandhar, Barnala and Tarantaran. If all goes well in the next two years, the scheme would extend to urban areas. The ‘guardians’ will get a monthly honorarium between Rs 11,000 and 50,000 for being the ‘eyes and ears’ of the government and cleanse the State of rampant corruption. In this case, the cost to the exchequer is immaterial.
MP ‘Jai Hind’ Roll Call
Mark your attendance with ‘Jai Hind’ and not ‘Yes sir, Yes mam’. This is the latest patriotic lesson for students in private schools in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh’s Satna city. The education minister’s order shall come into force from October 1. Though he says it is only ‘a suggestion’ for the roll call, school managements can be certain there will be no ifs and buts. Recall, only last December, schools across the State were directed to make singing of the national anthem and hoisting of the tricolour mandatory. Else, non-compliance would risk cancellation or suspension of their recognition. Satna is the beginning and if the ‘experiment’ to inculcate strong patriotic values in GenNext is successful, the idea will roll across the State. Jai Hind, will become a shrill! — INFA