The Indian Express | 1 month ago | 10-08-2022 | 10:45 pm
The Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government’s ministerial council expansion on Tuesday — both the inclusions and an exclusion — indicates the BJP and rebel Shiv Sena group’s plans to take on the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in its strongholds Mumbai and Aurangabad in the coming civic elections.A senior BJP functionary said the party’s focus was now on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election and on civic bodies in Sena strongholds such as Aurangabad, Thane, and Kalyan-Dombivli. With this in mind, the ruling coalition appointed leaders to the expanded council of ministers.Though many political observers were left surprised by the non-inclusion of former minister and Bandra (West) MLA Ashish Shelar, party insiders said it was part of the strategy to deploy his services for the coming BMC polls. In 2017, Shelar was the president of the BJP’s Mumbai unit. Under his leadership, the party put in a stellar performance by winning 82 of the 227 wards in the BMC, just two behind the Shiv Sena, its ally at the time. The Shiv Sena has been in power in the civic body since winning it for the first time in 1985. To keep the Sena happy back then, the BJP allowed its ally to keep control of the BMC and instead maintained greater control of the state government.After the Sena severed its ties with the BJP and joined with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Shelar positioned himself as a staunch anti-Thackeray leader and worked to corner the Sena over alleged financial irregularities in the BMC and its poor functioning. BJP functionaries said that the party’s central leadership, along with state leaders, had prepared a blueprint to take on the Sena in the next BMC polls and win more than 134 wards in the country’s richest civic body.The BJP has also eyes on the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, which has been a Sena stronghold apart from the BMC and the Thane civic body. In the Cabinet, at least three new ministers are from the city. They are Atul Save (BJP), Abdul Sattar (Shinde group) and Sandipan Bhumare (Shinde faction). In Thane, which is the CM’s bastion, the ruling coalition expects to sail through as a majority of incumbent corporators have switched loyalties to the Shinde faction. The BJP, to consolidate its own base in the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation, has given a ministerial berth to Ravindra Chavan from Dombivli.With the induction of leaders such as Girish Mahajan, Gulabrao Patil, and Dadasaheb Bhuse into the ministerial council, the BJP is looking to secure its position in north Maharashtra where the NCP has been trying to make deeper inroads. The BJP expects the appointments to boost its efforts to wrest control of the Jalgaon civic body from the Shiv Sena and retain the Nashik Municipal Corporation.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has come up with a project to build a cable-stayed flyover in a bid to improve the road connectivity between Versova, Malad and Marve regions in the western suburbs of Maharashtra’s Mumbai city.A look at the project: The cable-stayed flyover will connect Versova jetty with Madh island.Location: The bridge will originate from near the Versova jetty and end near the wharf adjoining the Madh island jetty, passing over the Versova Creek.Specifications: The bridge will be 1.5 kilometers long and 27.50 meters wide.Objective: The primary objective of this project is to improve road connectivity between Versova, Malad and Marve region in the western suburbs, which currently has patches of mangroves, mudflats and creeks between the locations. This bridge is expected to bring down the travel time between Versova and Madh island to 10 minutes. It currently takes at least one hour through SV Road and Link Road. The travel time during peak hours can go as high as two hours.Significance:– This project will improve the road connectivity till the extreme end of the western suburbs. Since there is no direct road network right now, the people are mostly dependent on a ferry service that runs between Versova and Madh.– The bridge will lead to uninterrupted transport system for 365 days. Since the ferry services often become non-operational during monsoon, the people are compelled to take the longer route of travel though bus, taxi or local train via Malad, which increases the travel time by several fold.– The bridge will also play a key role in uplifting the economy of the Madh and Marve area, which mainly houses the fishing community that travels to the fish markets in Andheri and Dadar areas and are mainly dependent on ferries. This bridge will open more travelling options for them, thus creating better connectivity.– With the Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) coming up and also with the Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) project being on pipeline, this flyover will create a smooth corridor for the north-south bound traffic that will be travelling from the extreme end of western suburbs to the island city or vice-versa.Present status:– The BMC had finalised a consultant for this project back in 2020 and recently an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and a survey on the mangroves have been completed.– The BMC had submitted the reports and a proposal for the final alignment of this bridge to the Maharashtra Coastal Zonal Management Authority (MCZMA) for final clearance of this project and is awaiting the clearance.– The civic officials are hopeful that the clearance certificate would come in next two months following which a tender will be floated.Cost: Approximately Rs 400 croreConstruction time: 12 months (excluding the monsoon) after the day of issuing work order.Authority speak: “The project has been in the pipeline for more than a decade and has been deferred for multiple reasons. The flyover will pass through a mangrove zone and coastal area, therefore we have already submitted our proposal to the MCZMA for clearance. They had provided some inputs in the previous application that we had made and have submitted a fresh proposal on the same. After the project gets cleared, tenders will be floated and contractor will be appointed for the project,” said an official from civic bridges department.Citizen speak: “The proposed Versova-Madh bridge is supposed to be a pivotal linkage between Versova and Madh island and with the coastal road nearing its deadline, this bridge is need of the hour. Since, not only it will declutter the traffic movement but also will save time, fuel and money for thousands of Mumbaikars every day,” said Dhaval Shah, a local resident and co-founder of the Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen’s Association (LOCA).
Chandrakant Raghunath Paatil was appointed as the Gujarat BJP president in July 2020. A confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Paatil, 67, is considered to be the most formidable leader in the state BJP under whose leadership the saffron party hopes to break the Congress’s 1985 record (149 of the total 182 seats) in the upcoming Assembly polls. On his part, Paatil has set his target at the maximum level: all 182 seats.Paatil’s tenure at the helm of the state BJP recently saw a change of guard in the BJP government with Vijay Rupani replaced by Bhupendra Patel as the Chief Minister overnight and the subsequent stripping of key portfolios of two ministers in the new government.A few days ago, Paatil asserted that Patel will be “repeated” as the CM after the state Assembly polls, slated for December, as he has done “good work”. He also said that PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah would decide the ticket allotment to party candidates for the polls.Paatil is known to have been a key player behind several major decisions taken by the state government, including the recent rollback of the Gujarat Cattle Control (Keeping and Moving) in Urban Areas Bill 2022, whose passage in March had set off massive Maldharis’ (cattle rearers’) protests across the state. The first word on the government’s rethink on this Bill came from Paatil after his meeting with a delegation from the Maldhari community.Similarly, it was Paatil who announced that the controversial Par-Tapi-Narmada Yojana in tribal areas of South Gujarat, which had triggered huge tribal protests, will be scrapped.Paatil, who is also a three-time MP from the Navsari constituency in South Gujarat, holds the record of winning a parliamentary seat by maximum margin ever in the country.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has emerged as a new challenger for the BJP besides the existing arch rival Congress, had bagged 27 seats in the February 2021 civic body polls in Surat, Paatil’s home turf. The AAP has since been targeting Paatil over various issues including his Maharashtrian origin.Born in Pimpry Akaraut village of Jalgaon district of neighbouring Maharashtra, Paatil, or “CR” as he is popularly known, is the first “non-Gujarati” to lead the BJP in Gujarat. A class XI dropout, Paatil has a degree from the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) as a turner. As per his 2019 Lok Sabha election affidavit, he had one criminal case of breach of trust and cheating pending against him. By occupation, he is a farmer and a businessman.Paatil’s father, who was a police constable, shifted in 1951 to South Gujarat in the then undivided Bombay Presidency. Paatil, like his father, joined the Gujarat Police as a constable in 1975, and was forced to resign in 1984 for attempting to “unite Police Constables under one roof of a Union”, as per his website.He joined the BJP in December 1989 under the leadership of former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and launched a Gujarati daily “Navgujarat Times” in 1991 from Surat.The Gujarat High Court has been hearing a PIL filed by former Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani which states that the Remdesivir injection Paatil distributed from the BJP office in Surat during the Covid-19 wave was “illegal”. Paatil’s website claims that he procured these injections “directly from the Pharma Company and distributed them”.
Good morning, Big Story 🔴 With days to go before the inter-minesterial consultations for 2022-23 revised estimates of Union finances, internal discussions within the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance seem to suggest that the cascading impact of a worse-than-anticipated global downturn may dent the budget arithmetic in the second half of the current financial year. 🔴 So far, the political leadership has been somewhat sanguine with the upsides – an uptick in GDP growth during April-June; steady tax revenues, among others. But policy makers are now pointing to multiple headwinds: pressure on the twin deficits (fiscal deficit and the current account deficit), concerns over private investment and job creation, and the continuing distress in the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector. Read why policy makers are worried. 🔴 Meanwhile, India’s service sector activity lost growth momentum and eased to a six-month low in September due to slow new business inflows amid inflationary pressures and competitive conditions, a survey showed.Only in the Express Days after the TRS was renamed as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, Amrith Lal writes on how KCR’s national pitch differs from Stalin’s: “The southern leaders — M K Stalin, Pinarayi Vijayan, Siddaramaiah — have emphasised regional/linguistic pride and have been projecting a state-centric story to counter the BJP’s political narrative that is perceived to be focused on privileging Hindu, Hindi, Hindutva identities. KCR, however, seems to have decided to abandon his regional legacy and embark on a path similar to the one taken by Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal.”Reversing a decision by former Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, the Supreme Court has revoked the appointment of Registrar Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara as a permanent employee of the court, The Indian Express has learnt. Sources said Suryadevara has been repatriated to the News Division at All India Radio as of September 30.From the Front Page The group of men in plainclothes, seen restraining and flogging at least four men held against an electricity pole, one after the other, in video clips of the incident, have been identified as police personnel of the Local Crime Branch (LCB) unit of Kheda district in Gujarat.India on Thursday abstained from voting on a draft resolution in the UN Human Rights Council on holding a debate on the human rights situation in China’s restive Xinjiang region.Must Read With the BMC polls approaching, the political grounds in Maharashtra are heated and the bitterness is reflected in the words that the BJP and the Uddhav Sena are flinging at each other. From Raavan to Katappa, Penguin to Spider-Man, Kamalabai to Champa: The acerbic political battle ahead of the BMC polls is reflected now in the constant name-calling.The promise of a job in Thailand, a boat ride across the border to Myanmar and a sinking realisation that he had been scammed — that his dream job was all about scouring the deep, dark web for potential victims to carry out financial frauds. The story of Stephen, a Tamil Nadu engineer who was rescued from Myawaddy in southeastern Myanmar’s Kayin state, in pockets controlled by armed rebels, returned home on Wednesday with stories of his days spent in captivity in a company engaged in online scamming. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) 20th National Congress will begin on October 16 in Beijing. The 20th Congress is likely to endorse an unprecedented third term for President Xi Jinping. The session comes at a critical time for China and the world. Here’s what to watch out for.And Finally While India’s 14-member World Cup T20 squad chase the title 15 years after their first one, there’s a backroom staff of 16 consisting of masseuse to team video analyst to head coaches, who will silently plot and plod on to keep the 11 wound up to the challenge of winning, writes Devendra Pandey.Delhi Confidential: The Congress after accepting the Parliamentary panel on commerce has nominated Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Commerce.🎧 In today’s episode of the ‘3 things’ podcast, We talk to our correspondents about the death of 66 children in Gambia linked to four syrups manufactured by an Indian pharmaceutical company, a police officer in Gujarat publicly flogging a group of muslim men who had been arrested for pelting stones at a garba event and the three scientists who have won the Nobel Prize for Physics.Until tomorrow,Rahel Philipose and Susobhan Roy
From the latest developments in the Congress presidential poll, to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s faction meeting the Election Commission to stake claim to the party’s symbol ahead of a crucial bypoll, here are political developments to watch out for:Kharge begins campaign tour: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge will begin his multi-state tour in Ahmedabad today to gather support for his candidature in the Congress presidential poll, scheduled for October 17. The Indian Express reported that he will go to 10 state capitals in the next five days. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, his counterpart in the polls, has already visited Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala as part of his campaign tour. Meanwhile, leaders associated with the Tharoor campaign have approached Madhusudan Mistry, the head of the party’s election authority, with complaints regarding state presidents endorsing Kharge’s candidature, alleged “intimidation” faced by Tharoor’s proposers, and discrepancies in the list of state Congress delegates who constitute the electoral college in the polls.Amit Shah, Nadda in Assam: Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda will reach Guwahati this evening and attend a core meeting of the state’s party unit. They will inaugurate the new state office of the party on Saturday, which will be followed by an address at a rally with an estimated 40,000 to 45,000 booth workers. Nadda will leave on Saturday evening after attending a couple of meetings, while Shah will stay on till Sunday for other official engagements.Karnataka BJP meets, amid Bharat Jodo Yatra: After facing heat on corruption allegations through the PayCM campaign and with the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra gaining political traction in the state, the ruling BJP is expected to draw up plans to counter the Congress at meetings today.D K Shivakumar summoned by ED: The ED has rejected Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar’s plea seeking exemption – until October 21 in light of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state – from appearing before the agency in the National Herald money laundering case.Jairam Ramesh, the Congress’s general secretary in-charge communications, has termed the ED’s action “political vendetta Modi-style”.Shinde faction to meet Election Commission: Ahead of the Andheri East Assembly bypoll in Maharashtra on November 3, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena faction is set to meet the Election Commission today to argue its case for the party’s ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol.In the bypoll, which will be the first major electoral battle between the two Senas since the developments in July, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s group has fielded Rutuja Latke, the wife of late MLA Ramesh Latke whose death necessitated the election. The BJP, the Shinde faction’s ally, has picked BMC corporator Murji Patel.(With inputs from PTI)
KALYAN: Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde's son and Kalyan Lok Sabha MP Dr Shrikant Shinde has slammed Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray for 'dragging' the name of his one-and-a-half year old son during the Dussehra rally held at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Posting a photo along with his son, Shinde, in a letter to Thackeray, expressed a grief over remark and said that he was not writing a letter as an MP or son of chief minister, but as father of one-and-half year-old Rudransh. At Dussehra rally, Uddhav Thackeray had said, "Father is chief minister, son is MP and grandson is now eyeing on the post of corporator. Let him grow up." Replying to Thackeray, Shinde said, "During your appeal about rally, you had invited people to listen to your thoughts of Hindutva. Only you know what thoughts of Hindutva you put forward in Dusshera's rally. I just want to ask you whether it fits to your Hindutva to drag the name of and innocent one-and-half-year old child into your speech?" "Uddhavji, do you have any idea how shocked our family is by your remark? Actually, this is very personal, but I feel compelled to say it. Both son's mother and grandmother were extremely hurt after hearing what you said yesterday. Tears welled up in their eyes...How can a politician say such things about a child whose walking, babbling, gibberish, and laughter are the gift of God?," wrote Shinde "A father's request with folded hands and tears in his eyes. Politics will continue...Criticism will continue. But don't drag innocent child into it," he added.