Dmk rejoices, back in demand
It’s finally time for the DMK in Tamil Nadu to celebrate and not just heave a big sigh of relief. The verdict in the 2G spectrum scam has made the party no longer untouchable. Rather, it has made it bounce back and presumably much in demand, with the corrupt tag off. With party leaders, former telecom Minister A Raja and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, getting a clean chit from the special judge Saini, after seven harrowing years, DMK cadres were revelling with fire crackers and sweets both in Chennai and Delhi. A jubilant Working President MK Stalin termed the judgement as “historic” and said the case was filed to “defame and obliterate a political party.” No longer, as it can tom-tom a moral and political victory. Its partner in the then UPA government, Congress is too upbeat as it has got heavy ammunition to hit Modi and BJP over what it terms the “lies scam,” unscrupulously used to come to power. At its end, the BJP is trying to play down the significance of the verdict, but it would need to re-invent another line of attack against the Congress as the biggest corruption issue has got deflated. Indeed, the high decibel political drama will play out for weeks, but for now eyes would be on the CBI and the ED whether after eating crow they would go in for an appeal. However, this wouldn’t worry an upbeat DMK, as from now the stage is set for it to start preparing its political strategy for the run-up to General election 2019. RK Nagar’s byelection result on Monday would be a starting point for the battle with the faction-ridden AIADMK on the home turf.
Rajasthan Cong Upbeat
Rajasthan Congress has reason to smile and there is renewed hope. The party won all the four zila parishad, 16 of the 27 panchayat samiti seats in 19 districts and six urban local body seats, in the BJP-ruled State. The saffron party managed to win only 10 panchayat samiti seats, and did one better in the urban local body winning seven wards, one more than the Congress. One seat was won by independents in the panchayat samiti and nagar palika. A pleased Congress, which has also improved its tally in the Gujarat polls, sees the victory as ‘the countdown to Raje’s fall has begun.’ Recall that the Congress had won three of the four Assembly by-elections after 2013 State polls and won 13 panchayati raj institution byelections this October, one better than BJP. However, the party’s strength in the Assembly is abysmal with 24, as against BJP’s 160 seats. It will be a long haul and it has to be seen whether the Congress can encash on its victories and make a comeback next year,
Is the Centre fishing in troubled waters? It seems so over the elusive Mahanadi tribunal. The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha, which has been on fairly good terms with the Modi government so far, looks to be having second thoughts. It has decided to train its guns over the Centre ‘going back on its word” to none other than Parliament. Other than taking up the issue in the Assembly, the BJD MPs in Delhi staged a protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s in the premises on Wednesday last. They demanded formation of a tribunal to resolve the river water dispute with Chhattisgarh. Later, BJD leader in the Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab questioned the Centre’s flip-flop on the issue saying ‘on the one hand, the Centre assured us repeatedly that the tribunal will be formed and on the other it tells Supreme Court that there is no chance to form it!’ This puts a big question mark on the Centre’s neutrality. Obviously, it’s compromised and tilted towards the other side, BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh.
Publicity Blitz In Maoist States
The Centre wants Maoist-affected States to go on a publicity blitz to weaken the rebels’ ideology. Spell out ‘peace benefits’ and the ‘misdeeds of the outfits,’ is an advisory to 10 States, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha by the Union Home Ministry. The modus operandi will be to distribute requisite literature among the locals by State authorities and paramilitary forces through ‘doo-to-door campaign’. The exercise will not be free, as the Centre will grant Rs 7 lakhs per district among the 106 affected. Of course, the machinery will need to focus on government’s schemes, benefits of peace and the lack of development in Left-wing extremism-affected areas due to “fear and extortion of cadres”. Other than this, the Centre shall introduce financial aid for civilians and security personnel whose property gets damaged by LWE cadres and enhance grant in the surrender policy for rebels to Rs 5 lakhs depending on their rank. Time will tell whether this strategy will achieve success or end up being just a publicity stunt.
The intolerance bug has bitten the Kerala government. Shockingly, on Wednesday last, it suspended Director General of Police Jacob Thomas, following his utterances at an anti-corruption awareness programme early this month. What did he say? Apparently, Thomas stated whether the Pinyari Vijayan government would have responded to the Cyclone Ockhi the same way it did if the victims were the wealthy instead of the poor fishermen; that the corrupt are united in Kerala to enjoy power and rulers are unpopular and cannot win the confidence of ordinary people etc. The criticism predictably made the government see red. An internal inquiry found his speech ‘inflammatory’, “prima facie aimed to exacerbate such feelings, which could have had serious repercussions on law and order and peace along the coast!” The senior-most IPS officer, who is known as an anti-corruption crusader, has obviously ruffled many feathers. He was removed by the previous UDF government, reinstated by Vijayan as vigilance chief, but soon forced to go on long leave and finally moved to the Institute of Management in Government. What disciplinary action follows, is anybody’s guess. But good governance is a victim here too.
Uttar Pradesh will soon have its own brand of safaris. No not jungle, or lion, or elephant safaris that people are familiar with but ‘cow safari’ or as the State will like to put it ‘sanctuaries’. The proposal comes from none other than Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Recently he told the ongoing winter session of the Assembly: “We will make grazing grounds for cows. And launch cow safaris for their protection.” These proposed safaris are to come up on land that has been freed from encroachment and at least in 24 districts, around metro cities and in Bundelkhand region. Recall that his predecessor, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav had his pet project of a lion safari in Etawah. While there’s little gauging how popular it turned out, it’s a certainty that cow vigilantes will ensure the cow safari hits the top harts. —INFA