Madhya Pradesh’s Children! That’s the new mantra of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. On Tuesday last, akin to the ‘sons of the soil’ doctrine, he announced a bonanza for the State’s bachohon (children) i.e. all government jobs will be reserved and given only to them and that his government was making the necessary legal provisions for it. The important decision boomed through a video statement was: from today, “The resources of Madhya Pradesh are for the children of Madhya Pradesh.” The bonanza comes at an expected time, just ahead of the Assembly by-polls for 27 seats in the Chambal-Gwalior region, for which the dates are awaited. As the guidelines are yet to be streamlined, ongoing recruitments said the government shall not be affected. Chouhan’s bête noire and upstaged CM Kamal Nath obviously couldn’t resist a jibe and promptly tweeted: “After 15 years, you have woken up to the issue of providing employment for the youth… Let this not remain just an electoral promise in view of the coming bypolls…” Recall he had himself announced 70% of jobs in industrial units to be reserved for locals. However, in the repartee, both forget there are many Supreme Court judgments against 100% reservation and that domicile cannot be the basis for reservation. This would go against fundamental right to equality of citizens for the announcement violates constitutional guarantees under Article 16(2) which clearly safeguards citizens against discrimination. Will it pass judicial test?
Kerala’s Big No To Centre
Kerala won’t allow New Delhi’s airport plans to take off. Following an-all Party meeting on Thursday last, Chief Minister Pinararyi Vijayan has said a big no to Union Cabinet’s decision to lease Thiruvananthapuram airport, along with two others, to Adani Enterprises Ltd. Not only will he explore legal options against the “sell out” to billionaire Gautam Adani, but the Assembly too shall pass a resolution opposing it. “We will not allow this to happen. We firmly believe (that) without the State’s consent nobody can take over it,” is Vijayan’s argument and has said so in his letter to PM Modi. Congress is in tow saying it “can’t support the move to loot a public property by an industrialist close to Modi.” But, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri in a tweet retorts “Make up your minds, my friends. By the way, do you remember what the Left said when you privatised Delhi & Mumbai airports?” That’s passé but the runway ahead is not going to be smooth. God’s own country is unwilling to cooperate. This PPP model is not going to fly?
Uttar Pradesh is in the throes of a more belligerent round of caste war— Brahmins Vs Thakurs. While Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is accused of promoting ‘Thakurvaad’ since he took over 3 years ago, the rumbling of a growing sense of insecurity among the priestly class is not being heard just from Congress camp, but within the BJP fold too. Worse and shockingly after the infamous encounter of Kanpur-based gangster Vikas Dubey, followed by killing of five of his associates, all Brahmins! Having launched a ‘Brahmin Chetna Samvad’, an online effort to connect back with the community under Brahmin Chetna Manch, Congress leader Jitin Prasad has written an open letter to all Brahmin MLAs, urging them to raise the community’s concern over ‘security and harassment’ during this Assembly session. Surely, Yogi would tactfully deal with it, but what about party MLA Devmani Dwivedi, who has sent a list of questions to the Speaker. These include how many Brahmins were killed, how many killers were caught and how many killers managed to get the police punishment in the three years of the Yogi government? A strong indication the BJP’s traditional vote bank, Brahmin community, about 10% of electorate is upset with Yogi’s government. Will New Delhi have to step in?
The Centre coming down on Gujarat, the ‘Best State for business, start ups’ et al, makes headlines. Wrong perhaps? Not for the Jal Shakti Ministry. It has an embarrassing dossier on Vijay Rupani government—an “inordinate delay” in projects to clean up two rivers—Tapi and Sabarmati. A peeved Union Minister Shekhawat has shot off a letter to the CM noting that while ‘Sabarmati project is yet to be completed six years after funds were sanctioned, there has been practically no progress till date in Tapi project’, 16 months-odd after Central funds were released! In 2014, Rs 444 crore was sanctioned for cleaning up the Sabarmati but the Ministry finds itself extending the project’s completion date from September 2018 to March 2020 and again to March 2021. For Tapi river, Rs 971.25 crore was sanctioned; 1st instalment of Rs 13 crore released in March 2019 to build 39 treatment plants. Shockingly, only Rs 8 crore were transferred to Surat Municipal Corporation in November 2019, (delay of 8 months) and balance Rs 5 crore are still to be released. Besides, there’s “practically no progress on ground till date.”
Bihar’s Split Opposition
Bihar’s 5-party Opposition is in disarray! There are desertions when Assembly elections are slated in October-November! On Thursday last, the main opposition party, the RJD, got a rude shock as three more of its MLAs joined the JD(U), taking the figure to six MLAs having crossed over so far. This includes Lalu Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aishwarya, locked in a marital dispute with Tej Pratap Yadav. Just three days earlier, 3 RJD MLAs who had been expelled for anti-party activities merrily joined the JD(U), bringing down RJD’s strength down to 74 of 80 in the Assembly. At the same time, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) quit the Mahagathbandhan, but has chosen to remain silent on any future plans of with any party or grouping. However, he is clearly peeved over non-formation of the coordination committee and Lalu’s announcement of son Tejashwi Prasad as its chief ministerial candidate. Taking partners for granted is a no-go as fence crossing is so much easier now. Whether Congress, RLSP and VIP get bitten by the dal badlu bug is immaterial as the ruling combine of JD(U)-BJP appears to have an edge.
Rajasthan’s Rasoi Yojana
Having had the stomach to weather the month-long political storm, Rajasthan Chief Minister realises focus must go back to governance and the common man. On Thursday last, his government launched Rs 100-odd crore yearly Indira Rasoi Yojana, offering subsidised meals to the poor and needy at Rs 8 per plate. Though each plate is priced at Rs 20, government will give Rs 12 subsidy per plate and feed about 1.34 lakh people with 100 gm each of daal and vegetables, 250 gm of chapati and pickles in that plate. Though launched with much fanfare through video conferencing in 325 of 358 kitchens in 213 urban bodies, the scheme is not original. His predecessor Vasundhara Raje says it’s just a name change. Her government had launched Annapurna Rasoi Yojana in December 2016, which Gehlot government said had ‘expired’ on March 31 this year. The fresh scheme claims a difference i.e. “People will be respectfully seated and served fresh and nutritious food …menu will be as per local taste instead of serving same food at all places…” Whether it’s same or there’s a change is immaterial. What matters is that ‘No One Sleeps Hungry,’ as pledged is fulfilled.— INFA