Shiv Sena Thriller
The political churning in Maharashtra offers a readymade script for Bollywood. The twist and turns in the Shiv Sena drama ensure a thrilling climax. Rebel Shiv Sena leader Ekanth Shinde put out a video on Thursday last showing 42 MLAs were with him so far (34 SS and 8 Independents) at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati, since the first halt made in Surat with 32 MLAs. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery is left with 13 MLA, has moved out of his official residence saying the kursi is not important. But the tripartite MVA government of SS, NCP and Congress is in deep crisis. The olive branch hasn’t worked with Shinde, claims of some rebels returning are being made and there’s even talk of Uddhav giving in to Shinde’s demand of dumping the ‘unnatural alliance’ and go with BJP. The alliance partners have asserted continued support to Uddhav and save government. And so there are moves to disqualify 12-odd rebels so the split doesn’t get legitimacy. Will Deputy Speaker of NCP do it? Will Shinde write to the Governor seeking a show of strength? Will there be a demand for dissolution of the Assembly? Nagging suspense, which the Director of the thriller, said to be the BJP, has to weave in. So far, it is alleged to have put majority of the SS MLAs on ED’s radar and they are jumping ship to “get out of their predicament”, while some others are being forcibly bundled to Guwahati. Replacement of the hero — Uddhav with Fadnavis could be the climax. Not a happy ending for the audience—the voters, for they get short changed!
From Raj Bhavan to Rashtrapati Bhavan. In a gap of a year, Droupadi Murmu, former Jharkhand Governor and Odisha’s tribal leader in all likelihood shall move into her new home for next five years. From Mayurbhanj district she is NDA’s candidate for presidential polls in July. Apparently, it will turn out to be a delay of five years as she was considered a contender after Pranab Mukherjee’s term expired in 2017, but BJP zeroed in on Ram Nath Kovind, a dalit and present incumbent. A teacher, Murmu was councillor in Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat, vice-president of BJP’s ST Morcha and twice its MLA, Minister of Commerce & Transport, and Fisheries & Animal Husbandry in BJP-BJD government. In 2015, she moved into Ranchi Raj Bhavan, becoming Jharkhand’s first woman Governor. Yashwant Sinha is the Opposition’s consensus candidate after Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and Gopal Krishna Gandhi declined the offer. With BJD coming on board, the NDA has 52% of the electoral college a clear win for Murmu. The percentage may go up as JMM in Jharkhand would find it difficult not to extend support. Her topping the list of 20 probable’s is a shrewd move of the BJP, denting the Opposition further. And taking credit of giving the country its first tribal President!
Haryana BJP-JPP combine heaves a sigh of relief. Notwithstanding, the State witnessing the worst protests against Agnipath across the country, the people have voted in favour of its candidates in the civic bodies’ election held on Sunday last. The combine won chairmanship of 25 of 46 bodies, of which BJP alone won 22. The BJP won control of 10 municipal councils and 13 municipal committees, and 3 nominees and JJP won one committee and two municipal bodies. Though AAP made its debut in the polls in the belief that victory in neighbouring Punjab would yield results, it ended up with just one post. Congress stayed away as there was opposition amongst its ranks for not fielding candidates on the party symbol, but claimed that 19 Independents which won had its support. It also claimed that there was a loss in support for BJP in cities as it got 26.3% votes as against Independents securing 52.2%. Be that as it may, the BJP is upbeat. The victory has relegated the loss of two Assembly bypoll seats to the background and interprets people’s verdict approving its policies.
Tamil Nadu goes through its share of internal power drama. The AIADMK General Council meeting on Thursday last lent overwhelming support to former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, with his co-partner in the then government O. Panneerselvam having to stage a walkout halfway through. The fight is over having a unitary leadership, and that neither Palaniswami nor Panneerselvam would hold the posts i.e. coordinator and joint coordinator respectively. At the outset, the meeting unanimously rejected 23 resolutions, demanding a unitary leadership, as dual leadership had led to much confusion. The G.C. must only discuss the need for a single leader and set July 11 as the new date for a fresh meeting, wherein Palaniswami will be elected party General Secretary. In effect, supreme party leader. However, the next scene may well be enacted in the High Court and Election Commission as Panneerselvam faction has claimed the GC conduct was illegal. South Indian blockbuster?
Assam would do well to adhere to the adage ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. Every year faces the wrath of floods, but precious little is done to prepare in advance. Over 55 lakh people are affected across 32 of 36 districts with rising Brahmaputra and Barak rivers inundating fresh areas. The situation is ‘critical’ in three districts—Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi. The big question is why does the Assam State Disaster Management Authority wake up so late and not prepare in advance? This time round, Chief Minister Sarma and Union Shipping Minister Sonowal follow the typical drill of visiting relief camps and await a Central team’s visit to ‘assess the damage, prepare a report and submit it to government for support and assistance’. The amount spent over the years could have been utilised to relocate the population, or even have permanent relief camps in place, among other preventive actions. The government takes pride it has set up 850 relief camps and 2,71,125 people given shelter. Can it measure the misery that people have to go through?
Gujarat Riots Dropped
Irrational ‘textbook rationalisation’ by NCERT! It has dropped 2002 Gujarat riots content from Class 12 Political Science curriculum, among other pages saying: “In view of Covid-19 pandemic, it’s imperative to reduce content load on students. The NEP-2020 also emphasises the same…In this background, the NCERT has undertaken the exercise to rationalise textbooks for all classes.” The removals include pages 187-189 which had paragraphs: “Gujarat riots show the government machinery also becomes susceptible to sectarian passions. Instances, like in Gujarat, alert us to dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes. This poses a threat to democratic politics,” and a blurb carrying then Prime Minister Vajpayee’s statement ‘one message to Chief Minister (of Gujarat) is he should follow ‘raj dharma’ and a quote “A ruler should not make any discrimination between his subjects on basis of caste, creed and religion.” Pages 105 of book on history of “Naxalite movement”, and 113-117 on “Controversies during Emergency” too are deleted. Reasoning: “overlapping with similar content included in other subject areas in same class” and “content, which is irrelevant in the present context”. Hindutva, guess would be relevant?? — INFA