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)
Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde held a massive Dussehra rallyPune: The "huge" crowd at Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's Dussehra rally in Mumbai showed who leads the real Shiv Sena, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said here on Thursday.He also dubbed the other rally held by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday as "Shimga", a pejorative term used to describe abusive rhetoric.He himself did not listen to the speeches of both Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde when they were underway, the BJP leader said.He was busy with the Dhammachara Pravartan Din celebration in Nagpur but got the gist of the two speeches and listened to Mr Shinde's speech on YouTube later, Mr Fadnavis said."I will not give any reaction on Uddhav Thackeray's speech. No need to give reaction on 'Shimga', he told reporters.The Shimga celebration in parts of Maharashtra ahead of the Holi festival involves lighting of bonfires, but revellers using cuss words or obscene language in a light-hearted way was also customary during the festival once."There was nothing in the speech except Shimga," Mr Fadnavis said."There was a huge gathering at the BKC ground whose capacity is the double of that of Shivaji Park (where Uddhav Thackeray spoke), and the BKC ground was filled to the brim... Shiv Sainiks proved that Eknath Shinde's Sena is the real Shiv Sena and that is why I would like to congratulate him," the BJP leader further said.On opposition's jibe that Mr Shinde, who rebelled against Mr Thackeray's leadership in June this year and broke away to form a new government, read out the BJP's 'script' at the rally, Mr Fadnavis said those who say this should find a new writer."How many times you will say the same thing? Ask your writer to use creativity or get a new writer," he said.Mr Fadnavis, a former Chief Minister, asked a question about Mr Thackeray's assertion that he was ready to swear on his parents that the BJP had promised the CM's post to the Shiv Sena for half the term before the 2019 elections.He had already given his reaction, Mr Fadnavis said.The reason for the split in the Shiv Sena was that Mr Thackeray put Shiv Sena's ideology aside and accepted the NCP and Congress's ideology and sat beside people who had connections with the Mumbai blasts and those who abuse freedom fighter VD Savarkar', he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"I should congratulate Eknath Shinde as he talked about development. He talked about what we are doing and he talked about what we are planning to do. This was missing when Uddhav Thackeray was Chief Minister. He always spoke like a party chief," Mr Fadnavis said. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
The moment dust settles on the Dussehra showdown between the two Shiv Senas Wednesday, they will have another battle on their hands: the one for Mumbai’s Andheri East Assembly seat bypoll, on November 3.The bypoll, necessitated due to the death of sitting Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke, will see the first major electoral contest between Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena and the BJP since the power equations between them changed. The Shinde Sena is unlikely to contest the bypoll, leaving the seat to its new partner.The result will be a considerable psychological boost for the winning side ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, due soon after. The bruised Uddhav camp desperately wants to retain its BMC stronghold, while the BJP with its new-found ally Eknath Shinde sees a chance to finally wrest India’s richest civic body.With its sizeable population of Marathi and North Indian voters, Andheri East has a good mix of electorate as an indicator of how Mumbai will vote. Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar has claimed that they will win the seat by over 50,000 votes.The Uddhav side, which continues to see an exodus of MLAs, MPs and leaders to the Shinde Sena, especially in areas outside Mumbai, has announced that it will field the late Latke’s wife Rutuja Latke for the bypoll. The BJP will field former corporator Murji Patel, who had contested from Andheri East in the 2019 Assembly polls as an Independent and come second.Both the NCP and Congress have announced support to the Uddhav Sena’s candidate. Uddhav, in fact, is counting on strong pockets of Congress voters scattered across the constituency to help it win. The bypoll will also be the first test of endurance of the MVA alliance after having lost power in Maharashtra.While it may not join the fight itself, the Shinde Sena will be battling on at least one front. Should the Uddhav faction contest on the Sena symbol of bow and arrow, it might strengthen its case before the Election Commission on claiming the same. The Supreme Court has left the matter to the EC and, sources said, the Shinde camp may approach the panel to stop the Uddhav group from using the symbol in the bypoll.
From the announcement of a new national party, to the RSS Dussehra rally in Nagpur, here are political events and developments that are likely to make a splash today:KCR to announce national party: At the TRS’s general body meeting today, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, is expected to launch a national political party.Sources said that at an “auspicious time”, the CM will announce the renaming of the party to ‘Bharata Rashtra Samiti’ (BRS). This could mark the beginning of the CM’s long-standing dream to float an anti-BJP national front for which he has been touring the country and gaining support this year.JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy and 20 MLAs of the party flew to Hyderabad Tuesday to attend the launch of the new national political party. As per a JD (S) insider, the BRS will be a conglomeration of various regional parties, “to put up a united fight against the BJP”.Meanwhile, Congress’s general secretary communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh in conversation with reporters in Hyderabad said “the BJP and the TRS were two sides of the same coin”. “If you have a Sultan in Delhi, you have a Nizam in Hyderabad,” he said yesterday.The Sena versus Sena showdown in Mumbai: Holding a Dussehra rally at the city’s Shivaji park has been of great significance to the Shiv Sena. All of its monumental decisions and milestones through the years – such as the launch of its youth wing under the leadership of then 20-year-old Aaditya Thackeray in 2010 – were taken here.With the split and the ensuing flight to assert who the “real” party is, it is looking like the final showdown will be the events that Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and CM Eknath Shinde have organised for today.The court may have asked the Uddhav faction to hold the rally at Shivaji park, but the Eknath Shinde side has pulled out all the stops for its rally at the MMRDA grounds in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) area in the city. Several thousand Thackeray supporters from rural Maharashtra have reached Mumbai in buses, trains, and private vehicles. The Shinde Camp claimed that around 400,000 Shiv Sainiks from across the state will be present at the rally and that it had organised around 4,000 buses to ferry them to the venue.All eyes and ears are on which event will attract more people and, more importantly, what will be said at the events.Bahubali actor Prabhas at Ramlila attended by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be the chief guest of the Dussehra ceremony at Red Fort today, organised by the Luv Kush Ramlila Committee, one of the oldest in Delhi. Accompanying him is actor Prabhas of Bahubali fame. In his latest film “Adipurush” – whose teaser was released this week – he is playing the role of Lord Ram. The film had its first run-in with controversy when MP Home minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday warned the makers of legal action if “scenes that hurt religious sentiments” were not removed from the film.RSS rally at Nagpur: Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashmi, was the day the right-wing organisation was founded by KB Hegdewar in 1926. Every year, the RSS holds an annual rally to commemorate the same at its headquarters in Nagpur. The “sarsangchalak” or the head delivers a speech that holds importance for its members and affiliates.In 2020, for example, the current chief of the organisation, Mohan Bhagwat, threw his weight behind the central government on the three contentious farm laws and virtually endorsed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s theory of an “international conspiracy” against his state government.Last year, he called upon state governments to return all temple property under their control to “Hindu society” and repeated the organisation’s demand for a population policy to tackle what it claims is a “demographic imbalance”.(With PTI inputs)
Mumbai: For first time since the Shiv Sena's inception 56 years ago, two Dussehra rallies will be held in Mumbai on Wednesday by the party's rival factions -- led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray -- in what is being billed as a show of strength by both camps after a change in government in June.The rallies have generated intense interest in political circles and also among common citizens and there will be more than just speeches by the two friends-turns-foes as the rival factions will seek to present themselves as the 'real' Shiv Sena and try to claim the legacy of party founder the late Bal Thackeray.While the Uddhav Thackeray faction will hold its rally at the historic Shivaji Park in Dadar in central Mumbai, a venue associated with the Shiv Sena since its inception in 1966, the rebel group led by Shinde has organised their event at the MMRDA ground at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in the suburbs The sprawling MMRDA ground is located close to 'Matoshree', the private residence of the Thackeray family in suburban Bandra.Both the camps have claimed they are taking forward the ideals of Bal Thackeray, who was known to make fiery speeches at the Dussehra rallies at Shivaji Park year after year till his death in 2012. Since then, his son Uddhav Thackeray, a former CM who lost power in June following rebellion by his once trusted aide Shinde, had been addressing the annual event.A Dussehra rally is being held at Shivaji Park after a gap of two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.Both sides have claimed their rallies will be a grand success with top leaders giving last minute touches to the preparations for the mega shows. On the ground, the areas in and around the two venues are awashed in saffron flags and banners.Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is expected to launch attacks on the Shinde faction and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), his former ally which is now part of the government in the state. In his address, the chief minister is likely to target Uddhav Thackeray for "deviating" from the path of Hindutva and joining hands with his once rivals Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in November 2019.Rebellion by Mr Shinde against Uddhav Thackeray's leadership brought down the MVA government in June-end.Meanwhile, stringent security measures are in place as there is a possibility of supporters of the two rival factions coming face to face in the metropolis, which may lead to law and order issues.Thousands of buses --- of the state road transport and also private operators -- have been booked by the rival Sena factions to ferry their supporters to the venues from all over the state.Sheetal Mhatre, a spokesperson for the Shinde camp, said 3.5 to 4 lakh people are expected to attend the rally at the MMRDA ground.Arrangements for food and vehicle parking for those coming from outside the city have been made.Both sides have claimed supporters of Mr Shinde and Mr Thackeray will come in large numbers from outside Mumbai for the high-profile events.The Mumbai traffic police have made necessary arrangements for the parking of scores of buses that will bring workers to the rallies.Buses carrying supporters from western and north Mumbai will be parked along Senapati Bapat Marg and Kamgar Maidan, while those arriving from Navi Mumbai and Thane will be parked at Five Gardens, Nathalal Parekh Marg, Edanwala Road, an official said.Cars will be parked at India Bulls Finance, IndiaBulls One Centre and Kohinoor Square.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comFor the BKC event, buses will be parked behind the family court in Bandra, near Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, the MMRDA ground and near Jio garden in the vicinity.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
MUMBAI: One of the first decisions the Shinde government took after coming to power in the state was to allow farmers to vote directly in Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) polls, instead of through representative bodies. While direct elections by farmers in gram panchayats was enacted in July, the state is yet to implement the same move in APMCs. Sources said the prohibitive expense of direct polls by farmers in APMCs has forced a rethink within the government, with MLAs in the Shinde camp resisting the move. Shinde, who controls the marketing department which oversees APMCs, did not respond when asked to comment, but minister Deepak Kesarkar, who holds the school education portfolio, said: "This issue has not yet come before the cabinet. I cannot comment on it since it does not concern my department." Elections to 281 of the state's 306 APMCs have been declared in January, but these will remain indirect polls. The voters will be farmer representatives at primary agricultural credit societies and gram panchayats. In direct polls, farmers who sell their produce at the APMC would be allowed to vote. The Opposition said direct polls by farmers are expensive. "The last direct election in the Solapur APMC cost Rs 1.4 crore. The election has to be funded by APMCs and many are in bad financial shape. When the voter list includes farmers instead of their just representatives, the number of voters shoots up," said Dilip Mohite, NCP MLA and president of the Maharashtra State Federation of Market Committees. "More than 50% of the APMCs will not be able to hold direct polls because they do not have the funds," said a senior Congress leader. APMCs are massive market yards where farmers sell their produce to traders. They are part of the local body network with an elected leadership and are linked to the rural economy. Most of these are controlled by the Congress-NCP. Over the last few years, the BJP has tried to weaken their hold by trying to widen the voter base. In 2017, the BJP-Sena government had changed the rules to allow farmers selling their produce in APMCs to elect its leaders. This was reversed by the MVA government in 2020, to return to an indirect poll. As soon as the Shinde-Fadnavis government took charge, it took the decision of direct elections by farmers. However, the decision remains in limbo three months later. The state also did not introduce a bill on this in the July assembly session. Now, on the directions of the government, Maharashtra cooperative election commission has filed an application in court, seeking to postpone APMC polls. It has argued that the gram panchayat and APMC polls will overlap. Also, that elections to 1,700 primary agricultural credit societies, whose representatives vote for APMC poll, are yet to be completed. It has also said if the state enacts direct polling by farmers, the voter list will take longer to compile. The opposition claimed that the government is delaying the polls so that it can appoint administrators and control APMCs. "The ruling parties know they will do poorly if there is a poll. They want administrator bodies to run APMCs," alleged NCP leader Balasaheb Patil, who was cooperation minister in the MVA government.
It is tempting to view K Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to rename the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) as yet another sign of a regional pushback to the BJP’s unitarian governance agenda and its expansionist political goals. KCR seems to suggest that shedding his party’s provincial credentials and adopting a name that indicates a pan-Indian vision for it could provide him a platform to expand nationally and fulfill his national ambitions.This approach is very different from the federal politics signaled by his southern counterparts such as the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the CPM in Kerala, and the Congress in Karnataka, or even the recent coalition initiatives in Bihar and Maharashtra against the BJP.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, which is to eye the political space that the Congress has been occupying. Ironically, in his bid to go national, KCR may have taken a big risk by dropping Telangana from his party’s name — will a communist party avoid Communism or a Dravidian outfit ignore Dravida while repositioning their respective organisations?So, what explains KCR’s national foray? Is it just the personal ambition for a national role? Or the presumption that expanding his party’s footprint could help him counter the BJP’s rise in his own backyard? Could it be an attempt to elevate himself above regional politics and entrust the party and the state to his son, K T Rama Rao?The BJP has been eyeing Telangana for some time though the TRS was focused more on marginalising the Congress, its mother ship, in the state. The BJP did spectacularly well in the last Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections in 2020 — it won 48 seats, up from four, whereas the TRS tally fell from 99 to 56; both had a vote share of around 36 per cent. The BJP won four of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019, and the last two assembly bypolls and seems to be the beneficiary of whatever anti-incumbency is in place against KCR, who has been CM since the state was formed in 2014.The fact is, also, that KCR, unlike the DMK in Tamil Nadu or the Left in Kerala, has no story to tell — the DMK now talks about the Dravidian Model whereas the Kerala Model has been in vogue in political debates for some time now. His party emerged from the debris of the Vishalandhra Movement in the 1950s that mobilised for a Telugu state. By taking up the case for a separate Telangana, the TRS had refuted the idea that a singular linguistic identity could be the binding factor for a state. Instead, it preferred a narrative of uneven development and spun a politics centred on the economic backwardness of Telangana. The cultural distinctiveness of the region may have been a powerful undercurrent in the broad Telangana statehood movement but has not resonated with the TRS in office.A wide range of welfare schemes for farmers (Rythu Bandhu and the Kaleshwaram lift-irrigation project, Mission Kakatiya), Dalits, etc that the TRS has implemented are popular, but it is the aura of having led the statehood battle on a nativist platform that lends credibility to KCR’s politics. The BJP, however, seems intent on shifting the terrain of state politics and is eyeing a potential fault line — Nizam rule and Hindu-Muslim relations — that it hopes to tailor with its Hindutva agenda. The TRS also has no access to the political legacies of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh — the national movement, peasant struggles, anti-Nizam agitation, the language movement — which could have provided the party with the cultural resources and memories to battle Hindutva.This is in sharp contrast, especially, to the DMK’s political stance, which projects the “Dravidian Model” as an alternative political worldview to that of the BJP. The Dravidian Model has a storied legacy and is rooted in the history of the Self-Respect Movement and the battles for social justice, linguistic identity, individual rights, provincial autonomy, and even self-determination of nationalities. Justice and equality have been key concepts in the Dravidian (and Left) political vocabulary: In the case of the DMK, it prioritised action against caste-based inequalities whereas the Left focused more on struggles against assets-centric inequalities. The DMK government’s stance on federalism and welfare, which it is vocal about, is influenced by this rich legacy of collective action, involving political mobilisation of intermediate and backward castes and classes. The DMK has also been quick to realise that the debate Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched on revdi culture could ultimately lead to the undermining and unravelling of the welfare state idea the Dravidian parties have promoted in Tamil Nadu. Recently, when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin announced the launch of free breakfast for school children, an expansion of the mid-day meal scheme, he explained that the scheme was not a freebie but a part of his “duty” as CM.The federal coalition Stalin represents, and that is visible in Tamil Nadu, is an ideological front that broadly responds to ideas of secularism and social justice including protection of minority rights, federalism etc. The Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra and the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar are political coalitions more driven by the exigencies of the immediate political moment, primarily the threat posed by a BJP that wants complete domination over the polity. The Mahagathbandhan is also a social coalition that can claim the inheritance of Lohiaite social justice politics and the struggle against Emergency. Leaders of all three coalitions recognise the pivotal role the Congress — like the Janata Dal in the National Front in the 1980s — will need to play in turning them into viable electoral combines. KCR’s national ambitions have limited scope in this context.If at all, the BRS, in alliance with its steadfast ally, the AIMIM, can hope to undercut the prospects of the Congress (MVA in Maharashtra, for instance), just as the AAP is likely to do beyond its own email@example.com
A day after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s Dussehra rally at Dadar’s Shivaji Park, the state BJP on Thursday dismissed his speech as lacklustre and directionless and said that it was a replay of the same old script, with nothing new to offer.“Shimgya var bolaycha nasta,” Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in Marathi on Thursday, meaning you do not take words muttered during Holi seriously. The subtle message was that Uddhav had failed to meet expectations and issue clear directions to his followers on D-Day.“I don’t think the Thackeray speech has anything new to offer to people. It is high time he changed his scriptwriter. How long can you repeat the same old tape?” Fadnavis asked.In two separate rallies on Wednesday, Uddhav and rebel Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde laid claim to Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray’s legacy.On Thursday, drawing a parallel between the two rallies, Fadnavis said, “Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in his speech elaborated on what work he is doing. He spoke of present and future plans for Maharashtra. This aspect was missing when Uddhav Thackeray was CM. As he was always in Shiv Sena president mode, he never spoke like a CM.”Fadnavis also praised Shinde for his ability to draw a mammoth crowd at the BKC rally. “The BKC ground is twice as big as Shivaji Park but it was filled to maximum capacity. It has shown who is holding the reins of real Shiv Sena,” the deputy chief minister asserted.At the Shivaji Park rally, Uddhav’s no-holds-barred attack was not limited to the Shinde camp – whom he referred to as “parasites” – but also included the BJP. From inflation and border disputes with Pakistan and China to the exodus of mega projects from Maharashtra to Gujarat, several issues were raked up. “Amit Shah has become an in-house home minister. His role is to bring down elected state governments. I give him an open challenge to get back PoK. There is infiltration from China along the borders which has to be dealt with firmly,” Uddhav had said.Thackeray even directed his ire against Fadnavis, who holds the Home portfolio, by drawing attention to police excesses against Shiv Sainiks. “Is there law and order? Why are our leaders identified and subjected to harassment?” he had questioned.The BJP, however, dismissed Uddhav’s criticism as mindless rumbling.“The work of PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is known to the world. Whether it was the abrogation of Article 370 or action against Pakistan, the central leadership has proved itself many times,” BJP state General Secretary Shrikant Bharatiya said.Another BJP office bearer said, “It is ridiculous that Uddhav, who cannot hold his own party intact, is issuing a challenge to Amit Shah. Seriously, he should introspect why his own Sainiks have left him and joined Shinde.”State BJP vice president Prasad Lad said, “Thackeray’s speech had no content. He could not reassure his own followers. It was a poor show. Apart from some taunts against BJP and Shinde, it had nothing. It was absolutely bogus.”While admitting that they knew Thackeray was bound to criticise BJP, many said that he failed to decide who was his number one political rival. So, part of his speech was an attack on Shinde and the rest on BJP, they said.In his speech, Uddhav also referred to RSS General Secretary Dattatreya Hosbale, who had recently voiced concerns over poverty and inflation. Uddhav praised the RSS leader for criticising the central leadership for failing to address core issues.“RSS leaders often, in private or public, speak about national issues of public concern. In that context, it was not unprecedented for Hosbale to tick off the Centre for failing to check inflation or poverty. It is also a part of a strategy to play the role of an in-house constructive opposition,” a senior BJP functionary said.
'Adipurush', a movie based on Ramayana, has got into trouble in Maharashtra with BJP's Maharashtra spokesperson, Ram Kadam, saying the party will not allow it to be screened in the state.In a video message, Kadam says: " We will not allow screening of the film Adipurush as it has painted a very bad picture of Hindu gods and goddesses . In a bid to earn publicity and money, some producers have a habit of distorting our history. The Hindu community will not tolerate such things anymore."Kadam told ET that the movie did not have their approval and objected to the costumes worn by characters in the movie.
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole hit out at Eknath Shinde saying that the chief minister is the “BJP’s puppet” who read its script during the Dussehra rally at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) ground Wednesday. He stated the crowd at the venue was mercenary and the attendees left the venue without even listening to his speech.Patole urged Shinde to not talk about the Congress saying that the chief minister does not have the “address of his party” and that he should not try to hide his sins by blaming the Congress.“The people of the state saw yesterday that the chief minister of the state is a puppet of the BJP. Shinde read a script written by the BJP in support of his betrayal (of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government),” Patole said.“Shinde criticised the Congress in the meeting. His betrayal is an internal matter for him and Shiv Sena. But we will not tolerate Shinde, his ministers and MLAs repeatedly criticising the Congress to cover the sin of their rebellion. He should not worry about who is or should be the president of the Congress party. He does not know what his own party is, it is ridiculous for him to talk about the Congress,” Patole said.“The Congress is the oldest and the most experienced party in the country which played a major role in bringing the country independence and making the country stand tall in the world. Eknath Shinde’s performance is nothing. His achievement is to act on the BJP’s warning and implement Delhi’s (Centre’s) order,” Patole adeed.Patole said that under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena joined hands with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in 2019 to form the MVA government for the benefit of the people by keeping communalist forces out of power. “Eknath Shinde and his 40 MLAs were also in that government. If the Congress’s support was so unwanted, why did he not dare to come out at the same time? Doesn’t Eknath Shinde know the legacy of the late Balasaheb Thackeray? He supported Congress candidates Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee for the President’s post. Did Shinde dare to protest then?”Patole added that Shinde gave in to his own political ambitions as well as the BJP’s advice and that he should stop blaming the Congress.
In the impending winter of political discontent, saffron seems to be the colour of the season in Maharashtra. As Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his yet another loyalist-turned-rebel, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, are locked in a bitter battle over who represents the real Shiv Sena, it is amusing to note that both factions are grappling with the same question: Who moved my Hindutva?Ever since Eknath Shinde, supported by the BJP, pulled the rug from under Shiv Sena head Uddhav Thackeray’s feet, Maharashtra has been witnessing a fierce political battle that, at times, has bordered on absurdity. Vijayadashami rallies organised by both sides were spectacular examples of this farce.It started with a fight over the venue. Shivaji Park, an open space in the otherwise congested central Mumbai, has been a political barometer since pre-independence. A leader is considered worth his clout only if he earns full house at Shivaji Park. Actually, there is nothing that resembles a park. As its name suggests, Shivaji Park ground is the birthplace of the Shiv Sena. Even before that, soon after Independence, it was here that Prabodhankar Thackeray, Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s father, along with many other eminent Maharashtrians, launched the ‘Samyukta Maharashtra Movement’ that thwarted the Centre’s plan to give away Mumbai to the state of Gujarat. The Shiv Sena is an extension of the ‘Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti’, a body formed to guard the interests of Marathi Manoos.Hence Shivaji Park, laced with this history, is an emotive place for the Sena. Having been a Sena man himself, Eknath Shinde thought of hitting the Sena where it could hurt most. He tried to snatch Shivaji Park away from the Sena by first delaying, and later refusing it permission to hold its Vijayadashami rally. The Sena, however, outsmarted Shinde by applying for permission well in advance and later by challenging the state government’s refusal in the Bombay High Court. The first round went to Uddhav Thackeray.There are two aspects to the Shiv Sena’s strength. First is the Sena supremo’s ability to bring young and lumpen elements under one umbrella to give them some political purpose, and the second is keeping the “teach-them-a-lesson” spirit alive in them. Both these “qualities” were in full display at Shivaji Park.Uddhav is in no way close to his father in vocabulary, vituperation or viciousness. Despite his inability to pepper his speech with the choicest abuse for political opponents, though, the Shivaji Park rally was very lively as compared to Shinde’s maiden public meeting held in the business district of Bandra. In terms of the size of the crowd, Shinde certainly had a better head-count than the Thackerays. But in terms of spirit, Uddhav’s rally stands out. In oratorical skills, if Uddhav is a pale shadow of his father, Shinde is no better. His first attempt to take on the Thackerays can be described as lacklustre at best.Both the rallies underlined the same point — the political narrative revolves around one party: The BJP. It seems almost impossible for any political outfit to bypass or ignore the BJP. As a result, what happened at these two rallies was that even as Uddhav Thackeray was seen trying to take his battle to the BJP, Chief Minister Shinde, instead of marketing himself, was seen defending the BJP.To consolidate his vote bank of Hindus and neo Hindus, the BJP is busy portraying Uddhav as a “sinner”. His sin: Breaking bread with “secular” Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP. In an attempt to turn the tables on the BJP, Uddhav brought in RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat by mentioning his recent visit to a mosque and overtures to Muslims. “Should I say the RSS chief (by visiting a mosque) has compromised his Hindutva?” he asked. The reply came from Shinde who chastised Uddhav for criticising the RSS. Uddhav was keen on sending out a message of how he continues to adore Hindutva even today, and Shinde was seen making special efforts to portray him as “secular”. Of course, the Maharashtra Chief Minister was using “secular” as an accusation.By organising the Vijayadashami rally and attempting to challenge the Sena on its own turf, the Shiv Sena’s Shinde faction may have succeeded in attracting eye-balls. But its first real test will be in the state legislative assembly by-election being held in Andheri (E), one of Mumbai’s suburbs, as early as November 3. The seat fell vacant following the death of a Shiv Sena MLA and before the Shinde faction could lure the departed MLA’s wife as its candidate, the Sena declared her nomination. Since the election symbol issue is yet to be decided, the Shinde faction has let the BJP contest the said by-election. It was impossible that the perennially election-ready BJP would miss the opportunity.But in the end, whatever be the outcome, it will be the Shinde faction that will lose out. If the BJP wins, it will add one more MLA to its kitty. If it loses, it will be the Shinde faction which will be at the receiving end. The November 3 by-election will be followed by the most coveted Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election, the real battleground which the BJP hopes to win and dislodge the Shiv Sena from. The November 3 by-poll outcome will set the tone for the BMC poll which in turn will prepare the ground for the battle royale of the state assembly elections, just two years away.Meanwhile, Maharashtra may end up becoming a land of Hindu heartthrobs (Hriday Samrats). Originally, the title was reserved for Bal Thackeray. Now, staking claim for it is his son Uddhav, and trying to wrest it from Uddhav is his cousin Raj. Add to them new entrant Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, not to mention the BJP’s home-grown Devendra Fadnavis. The list goes on.The writer is editor, Loksatta
Soon after the Dussehra rallies of the two Shiv Senas were over, the BJP dismissed Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting as lacklustre and boring. With Uddhav directing his attacks on the BJP, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said: “Shimgya var bolaycha nasta (or, don’t take him seriously)”.As the political battle in Maharashtra gets more acerbic, ahead of the crucial BMC polls, the bitterness is reflected in the words that the two sides are flinging at each other.* Raavan, Katappa: In the course of his speech at the Dussehra rally on Wednesday, Uddhav said: “This year’s Raavan was different.” In an obvious reference to Eknath Shinde, who broke away with a large chunk of the Sena to form the government with the BJP, Uddhav said: “The Raavan changes with the times. Till now, Raavan was 10-headed. Now how many heads does it have… rather how many khokas (crores)… He is a demon of 50 khokas… He is Katappa (the Baahubali character who stabbed his own king.”In his speech that started soon after Uddhav wrapped up his, at a separate rally held by the Sena faction headed by him, Shinde said: “Even Katappa was self-respecting and not a two-faced politician like you.”* Penguin Sena: The BJP’s description for the Uddhav-led Shiv Sena faction. The allusion is to the import of eight Humboldt penguins from South Korea for the Byculla Zoo during the MVA government, which was a pet project of Uddhav’s son and former minister Aaditya Thackeray. Both BJP and Congress leaders in the BMC had objected to the kind of expenditure envisaged for the upkeep of the penguins, the zoo’s first-ever.Earlier, the BJP referred to the young Thackeray scion Aaditya as ‘Baby Penguin’, much to the Sena’s chagrin.* Kamalabai: Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray was known to refer to then ally BJP thus in private, a jibe at its symbol of lotus. The word also popped up occasionally during Sena rallies when the ties between the allies were going through a rough patch. After he walked out of the NDA and into the MVA in the days following the 2019 Assembly polls results, Uddhav took to using the term for the BJP in public.* Gaddar: The Uddhav Sena’s term for Eknath Shinde, for having split the party to form the government with the BJP. Whether public rallies or party mouthpiece Saamna, the Sena never forgets to use the expression at every reference to Shinde.* Spider-Man: This was the reaction of Congress president Nana Patole, when Devendra Fadnavis was appointed in-charge of six districts in Vidarbha as Guardian Minister. (There has been much heartburn in BJP and Shinde Sena ranks over the allotment of these Guardian Minister posts between them.) “Fadnavis must be Spider-Man… who can do anything and everything. Nothing is impossible,” Patole quipped.Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule countered that not just six, Fadnavis could manage eight districts. “He (Patole) does not know about Fadnavis’s ability… He does not have any private businesses, factories, societies or banks. He works 18 hours a day,” Bawankule said.* Champa: The description used by senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal for senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil. When questioned, Bhujbal said this was how Patil was “lovingly” called by some. Later, NCP leader Ajit Pawar repeated the reference at a function. An upset Patil raised the issue at an internal BJP meeting, exhorting party leaders and workers not to take things lightly. “We have to hit back. How can they call me Champa?” Patil stated.* Maida Cha Pota (Sack of wheat flour): The late Bal Thackeray, never one to care for political niceties, had coined this term for NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the early 1990s.Thackeray also had a term for Chhagan Bhujbal, “Lakhoba”, a reference to a negative character in a popular Marathi play, Tau Me Navech (I am not that). In turn, Bhujbal, who had by then quit the Sena, started calling Thackeray “T Balu”. Such irreverent reference to the Sena chief, who was at the height of his might at the time and called ‘Balasaheb’ by one and all, was then unthinkable.
The BJP national secretary Pankaja Munde has once again expressed her disappointment with the organisation for forcing her to play secondary role. Yet, she has also indicated that she is not going to resort to any extreme step right now and will take right decision at appropriate time.At the annual Bhagwan Bhakti Gad rally in district Beed, Pankaja did not mince words to vent her anger and unhappiness. But she exercised great caution not to directly name any central or state BJP leaders. Thus, keeping herself within the “laxman rekha” which she had in recent past repeatedly crossed.संख्या प्रचंड… उत्साह अफाट .. मैदान अपुरे पडले… पण प्रेम आणि आशिर्वाद यांनी भरून पावले..(१/२)#AaplaDasraAapliParampara pic.twitter.com/Msj8W1877J— Pankaja Gopinath Munde (@Pankajamunde) October 5, 2022As a result Pankaja has given her political rivals reason to question her continuation in BJP. Meanwhile, both Thackeray’s Sena and NCP have given an open-offer to Pankaja to join their organization, rather than face humiliation in BJP.Daughter of late Gopinath Munde, Pankaja belongs to Vanjari community ( Denotified Tribe). The former minister in state BJP-Shiv Sena government had lost 2019 state assembly polls from her home constituency in Parli (Beed district). It came as a jolt andshe blamed BJP for her defeat at the hands of estranged cousin, Dhananjay Munde who is with NCP. She was hoping the party would offer her bigger role in state politics, instead, she was moved to Delhi as national secretary since 2020.” I have started massive preparations for 2024 polls. If the party gives ticket, I will contest 2024 polls, ” she herself announced. At the same time, “I am not someone who will bow before anybody. I don’t hanker for power and post,” she added.What am I today? I am not a minister or MLA, MP. Yet, “look at the mammoth crowd. Why have people gathered. What can I offer them? I have nothing to give them except dignity,” she asserted. Thus, trying to strike an emotive chord with the people who thronged to her public meeting.While declaring she was not afraid of struggle, Pankaja exhorted her supporters to once again put their heart and soul for 2024 preparations. In a candid admission she said in 2019 assembly elections she lost and said that while appointments of eight MLCs and four MPs were done after that, she was never considered. Now, I have no complaints. But my supporters talk about it. And I have no answer.Although she did not elaborate on it, she ensured the message was loud for one and all. At the same time she was quick to clarify, ” I am not unhappy.”The subtle attack on party leaders throughout her speech was difficult to ignore. This was substantiated when she said in Hindi, ” Maana Ke Auro ke mukable kuch jyada paya nahi humne, Par kush hu ki khud girta sambhalta raha par kisi ko Giraya nahi maine…” (I admit I may not have achieved more compared to others, but I am glad I fall and rise …but haven’t pulled down others.)Pankaja who has earned the tag of inhouse “rebel” was directing her ire against party for not considering her for bigger roles in state politics. It is no secret that Pankaja wants to work in Maharashtra. She was vying to become member of state legislative council and leader of Upper House. But state and crntre leaders refused to consider her candidature in state. Instead, she has been asked to focus on strengthening organisation in her own home pitch Parl, district Beed.At some point she makes a point that the moto organisation above individual appeals to her. At the same time she mentions ” it s her goodness that has cost her …” ( Jarrorat se jyada imandar hu, isiliye sab ki nazar mein gunehgar hoon main..”Although she has issued veiled warning to party to not test her patience, she stopped short of selling out her options outside BJP and she told her followers, ” I have embarked on 2024 preparations. We will show how we can create sea from drops of water.”The state BJP leaders dismissed her speech as “nothing unusual.” A senior BJP office bearer said, “From her language it is clear she is not in mood to revolt, provided she gets chance to contest 2024 polls.” The political rhetoric is her style to enthuse her followers.For instance she says, ” I know you think I will play Durga ( fiery) but I am not going to speak against any leader.” If we read between lines she is careful not to antagonize top leaders.
While Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at his party’s Dussehra rally in Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister and rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde chose to attack Uddhav at his faction’s rally held on the occasion in a different part of the city.The two grand Mumbai rallies on Wednesday evening turned into a contest between Uddhav and Shinde to claim the legacy of Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray, with each one marked by a large gathering of saffron-clad Sena activists, where speakers aggressively took on the rival faction while making their respective claims of being the “true flag-bearers of Hindutva”.From a stage whose backdrop was framed by images of Bal Thackeray and Shinde’s political guru late Anand Dighe along with a slogan stating “Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain (Proudly say that we are Hindus)”, the CM, whose camp has staked claim on the Sena’s election symbol, bow and arrow, before the Election Commission of India (ECI) while projecting itself as the “real” Sena, addressed his Dussehra rally at the Bandra Kurla Complex’s MMRDA ground. A special empty chair was kept in the middle of the stage, symbolically honouring Bal Thackeray.For Uddhav, his party’s annual Dussehra rally was a congregation of “eknishtha (loyal)” workers. At the packed rally venue in Shivaji Park, he called the Shinde camp “parasites” that grew on trees’ branches. “Branches may fall, but the tree survives on roots and you (workers) are Sena’s roots,” he told the rally, adding that he will again help the Sena clinch the CM post if backed by party workers.Even as Uddhav referred to Shinde as a “contractual CM” and raked up his “betrayal”, the former’s larger target remained the BJP. In his 40-minute-long speech, Uddhav countered the BJP’s charge against him of “ditching Hindutva” to align with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) by referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s recent visit to a madrasa in Delhi. He questioned if this attempt to initiate a conversation with the other side is acceptable then what was wrong with his aligning with the Congress. He also raised the issue of remission granted to the Bilkis Bano case convicts who were also feted after their release from prison. “Is this the example of woman empowerment you are talking about?” he asked.By going after the BJP, Uddhav also sent out a political message that he could be a part of a larger anti-BJP front that may take shape ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.The BJP is going to be the main opponent of the Uddhav Sena in the upcoming Mumbai civic body polls. Uddhav’s bid to challenge Union Home minister Amit Shah and his attempt to make a distinction between the Hindutva propagated by both the parties is being seen as a clear sign that he is ready to lock horns with the BJP in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.Shinde, on the other hand, chose to reply in his 90-minute long speech to every criticism made against him by Uddhav. The CM also sought to rise to the defence of the BJP and RSS leadership, which might give the handle to the Uddhav Sena to sharpen its allegation that he was “dancing to the BJP’s tunes”.The CM also tried to connect emotionally with his supporters by explaining how he toiled hard for the party and is an ardent follower of Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva. By restraining himself from making personal attacks on the Thackeray family, he seemed to have hoped to earn sympathy of the common Sena workers.Earlier in the day, in an apparent swipe at Uddhav, who has maintained that he being the son of Bal Thackeray is the true inheritor of his legacy, Shinde posted a tweet with a quote of noted Hindi writer Harivanshrai Bachchan, stating “My son, being a son will not be my heir, whoever will be my heir will be my son”. Shinde’s appeal to common Sena workers and his repeated claims that the Sena was not a “private limited company” was aimed at legitimising his rebellion against the Thackerays as he projected himself as the “true heir” of Bal Thackeray’s ideology.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde Wednesday declared his faction of the Shiv Sena as the true inheritor of Bal Thackeray’s legacy and accused former chief minister Uddhav Thackery of betraying ideals of his father as well as the Hindutva ideology.“We are not gaddars (traitors). Everyone knows who the real traitors are. The betrayal took place in 2019 when you joined hands with Congress. You betrayed Bal Thackeray, Hindutva and your voters,” he said, addressing his faction’s Dussehra Rally at Bandra Kurla Complex, a show of strength countering the rival rally by the Uddhav faction at Shivaji Park.While Uddhav’s main thrust was on targeting the BJP, Shinde, in his 90-minute address, spoke largely about his rival.“You should introspect why we left, instead of calling us gaddars. Why did Raj Thackeray leave, and why did Narayan Rane leave? Were they all traitors?” Shinde said.“I will never digress from the thoughts of Bal Thackeray. True heirs of Bal Thackeray are those who have inherited his thoughts,” Shinde said, repeatedly invoking the Sena founder.I will never digress from the thoughts of Bal Thackeray. Today you called me Kattappa [the ‘Baahubali’ character who stabbed his king], but even he was self-respecting and not a two-faced politician like yoWith the Shinde faction failing to get the Sena’s traditional Shivaji Park venue for the rally, it used optics to reinforce its links to Bal Thackeray. The poster at the back of the stage read ‘Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain’, a statement Bal Thackeray made after the 1992 Mumbai riots. At the centre of the stage was a chair the Sena founder used during his visits to Thane in 2009-2010—Shinde paid tribute to the chair with a garland after he arrived on stage at 7.30 pm. At the beginning of the rally, snippets of Bal Thackeray’s speeches — criticising the Congress and the desire for the CM’s chair — were played as part of a musical video.Attacking Uddhav over his speech at Shivaji Park, which concluded a few minutes before his own speech began, Shinde said: “Today you called me Kattappa [the Baahubali character who stabbed his own king], but even he was self-respecting and not a two-faced politician like you.”Right at the beginning of his speech, Shinde kneeled on the stage and touched the ground with his forehead as tribute to the audience. He said: “I am one of you, I am like you. This will mark the end of dynasty politics in Shiv Sena.”Shinde added: “Shiv Sena is not your private limited company. It is the result of the sweat and blood of thousands of Shiv Sainiks, and you gave it away to Congress and NCP for personal gain. Bal Thackeray used to say he would rather retire than join hands with scoundrels [Congress], and you disrespected his thought.”He also targeted Uddhav over his party’s new tagline displayed at Shivaji Park — “Ekanishtha” meaning loyal. Shinde said: “What is loyal? Who are left? How many are left? Everyone will come here [to Shinde camp]. This is emotional blackmailing and it will not work.”Shinde’s speech also had praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The Prime Minister has made our country proud, and spread the name of our country far and wide. Everyone across the world respects him. When any country faces calamities, India is the first to help that country in abundance.”
Addressing his much-anticipated Dussehra rally, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, without naming the Maharashtra Chief Minister, labelled the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction as traitors, accusing them of conspiring against him when he was at his “most vulnerable physical state after suffering a debilitating illness”.The former Chief Minister, while addressing his party cadre at the annual rally, launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), once again questioning its version of Hindutva, and stated that the idea of democracy was under threat under the dispensation at the Centre.“Breaking the alliance with the BJP does not mean that we have left the fold and ideology of Hindutva. I do not need to learn Hindutva from a party whose leaders have bowed their heads at the tomb of Jinnah and went uninvited to Pakistan to meet Nawaz Sharif,” Thackeray said during his 45-minute address to party workers at Shivaji Park, which was packed to capacity with Shiv Sainiks who had come to the state capital from across the state.Taking on the Central government, Thackeray said, “There is a genuine worry on whether democracy in this country can stay alive. This is a warning call for all citizens. There is a genuine fear that we, as a country, may get pushed into servitude. There is a need for all patriots to unite.”The Sena chief said the BJP was trying to cover up its shortcoming in ruling the country by evoking its version of Hindutva. “You (the BJP) speak about the cow, but why don’t you speak about the rising inflation in the country? Speak about it as well. But just to divert the attention of people, they speak about Hindutva,” Thackeray said.Thackeray also took a swipe at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and said that he was busy conspiring in toppling the governments in states ruled by Opposition parties instead of concentrating on the work assigned to a country’s Home Minister.In the Ankita Bhandari murder case, the resort where it happened belonged to a BJP leader. In the Bilkis Bano case, sentences of the convicts were waived. These are the values of the BJP“Instead of fulfilling his duties as the Home Minister, his task these days is visiting states ruled by the Opposition and toppling the governments there,” Thackeray said.He further challenged Shah to “bring back the land which has been occupied by Pakistan and China” instead of making statements of “showing Shiv Sena its place”, alluding to a recent remark made by Shah to BJP members during his visit to Mumbai.“You came here and said you will show us the ground. We are on the ground only. But I challenge you to retrieve the ground that we have lost to Pakistan in the form of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as well as China. Do something about that first,” Thackeray said.He also took a swipe at the BJP over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement that there was a need to empower women.“In the Ankita Bhandari murder case in Uttarakhand, the resort where it happened belonged to a BJP leader. In the Bilkis Bano case, men who raped her and killed her small child, men who were convicted, their sentences were waived off. These men were felicitated and welcomed. These are the values of the BJP,” Thackeray said.While the focus of Thackeray’s speech was targeting the BJP, he also took a swipe at the Sena’s breakaway faction, stating that they were traitors and would have to live with the “ignominy of being called traitors for the rest of their lives”.He said, “They are traitors only.. even if they have posts of ministers now, it won’t be the case for a long time.. but their identity of being traitors will be theirs forever and cannot be wiped out ever.” Thackeray further said, “They are duplicates and fake. They think that they have become Balasaheb themselves..”Without referring to Shinde by name, Thackeray said he was betrayed by people whom he had confided in. “I feel sad about only one thing. I had given responsibility for handling the affairs of the party(during the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi [MVA] government) to an individual. But when I was in hospital and in a vulnerable state, the same person was conspiring to break the party and finish me off forever,” he said.Thackeray made an emotional outreach to the Sainiks gathered at the rally, asking them to support the party while promising that the Shiv Sena will bounce back with double the force. “Today, I have nothing. We will have a difficult path ahead. But, with your support, the Shiv Sena will rise again. It will bounce back and I will make a Shiv Sainik the Chief Minister again. We have to defeat the traitors in every election,” Thackeray said.Thackeray also praised the Sena’s MVA coalition partners – the Congress and the NCP – stating they gave the party respect. “When we renamed Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv, the coalition immediately agreed. Still they (the BJP) say we left Hindutva? Where were they (Shinde faction) that time? Touring Guwahati and Surat?” the former CM said.The Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in Dadar came after a battle with its rival – the Shinde-led faction – over the venue which culminated in the Bombay High Court ruling in Thackeray’s favour in its verdict in the matter on September 23.
MUMBAI: Terming his faction as the real Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray as "the real betrayer," CM Eknath Shinde went all out in defence of PM Modi and union home minister Amit Shah at his Dussehra rally. Addressing his first rally at BKC, he said it was Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray's dream that Article 370 be abrogated and the Ram Mandir be built in Ayodhya. "This was fulfilled by Modi and Shah and yet you (Uddhav) mock them," he said. Pointing to the huge gathering, Shinde said now no one would question which was the real Shiv Sena. Shinde said he was proud to be the handyman of Modi and Shah rather than being the handyman of those who support Dawood and Yakub Memon, reports Clara Lewis. Attacking Uddhav, Shinde said in his lust for power, he has destroyed the Sena. "We are not betrayers. You betrayed the mandate of the people in 2019. You got votes with hoardings that had pictures of Balasaheb Thackeray on one side and Modi on the other. Balasaheb used to run the government with a remote control. You handed over Shiv Sena's remote control to NCP-Congress," he said. Bal Thackeray's son and Uddhav's elder brother Jaidev, his estranged wife Smita and son Nihar made it a point to be present at the CM's rally. Shiv Sena not a Pvt Ltd Co, it belongs to Sainiks: CM Addressing his first rally at BKC, CM Eknath Shinde accused Uddhav Thackeray of ceasing to call Balasaheb 'Hinduhriday Samrat' and referring to him only as 'Shiv Sena chief' to please Congress. "We are ideologically opposed to Congress-NCP, yet you embraced them. Even when they moved to slit Sena's throat, you did nothing," Shinde said. He said Thackeray preferred to listen "only to Sanjay like in the Mahabharata", hence the rebellion. "If Sena and Sainiks would not have destroyed Congress bastions, you would not have reached where you have. You make fun of our livelihoods, calling us 'paan tapriwala,' 'rickshawwala.' Can only zamindars, capitalists, those born with a golden spoon become CM?" he asked. Shinde said Thackeray went to court to get Shivaji Park to hold his rally. As CM he could've intervened, but he did not as "it is my responsibility to maintain law and order." He added Uddhav had taken help of Congress to bring people for his rally, just as his people had taken part in the latter's Bharat Jodo Yatra. He accused Thackeray of "burning Balasaheb's ideology." "Do you have moral authority to stand on that ground and speak? Thousands of Shiv Sainiks shed their blood to make the Sena, and you handed over the party's remote control to NCP. Balasaheb called them scoundrels, and you tied Sena to them," Shinde said. Hence, said Shinde, Sainiks rebelled. For 3 months, the CM said he has been moving around and has got a huge response from people. "Had we made a mistake, people would not have come out in such numbers. Shiv Sena is not a private limited company. Sena does not belong to Uddhav or Eknath. It is the Sena of Balasaheb's thoughts and belongs only to Shiv Sainiks," he said. Shinde said two words have been used to describe them - "gaddar" (betrayer) and "khoke" (boxes). "The betrayal happened in 2019. We are not "gaddars" (betrayers) but "Gadar" (revolutionaries)," he said. Reacting to Thackeray's statement that they were a group stealing another's father, he said Uddhav has tried to sell off the father's ideology. "You have become helpless for power. To please Congress-NCP you said we rotted for 25 years with BJP. Yakub Memon was responsible for Mumbai blasts, yet you made an MLA who sought to get his death penalty revoked a minister. How much salt will you rub into Mumbaikars' wounds?" asked Shinde. He further said, "Now that you have lost power you remember the ordinary Shiv Sainik. You did work from home. We never did 'work from home' but 'work without home.'" On Thackeray demanding they resign and go with BJP, he questioned why Thackeray did not resign when he went against the people's will. Hitting out at Uddhav for calling his son Shrikant, an MP, as "kaarta" and that his grandson was in line for a councillor ticket, Shinde said on becoming CM, he made his son (Aaditya) a minister instead of giving an MLA from rural Maharashtra a chance. "My grandson is only 18 months old. Thackeray's downfall began after his birth," he said. He accused Uddhav of cutting down Sena leader Anand Dighe and others in the party. "After Dighe's death, I thought you'd ask me how to expand party in Thane. Instead you asked me about his property and who were holding it. By cutting the feet of those who were rising, you forgot you were cutting down Sena," said Shinde.
"Balasaheb said he won't go with the Congress. You did that," Eknath Shinde said.Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde flipped Uddhav Thackeray's slur of "Gaddar (traitor)" today, declaring it was he who had betrayed the Sena by forming an alliance with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. It was an insult not only to Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray who was against both parties, but also the ordinary Shiv Sainik who had worked for the party for years, he said."Balasaheb said he would close down the Shiv Sena but won't go with the Congress. You did that and this was against Balasaheb," he said."You don't want to even talk about Hindutva now... They keep opposing (VD) Savarkar and you did nothing... Savarkar is our God and we take his name with pride but due to Congress we were asked to be quiet," Mr Shinde said.Mr Thackeray, he alleged, "makes fun of the Prime Minister and calls Home Minister Amit Shah Afzal Khan". But they worked to fulfill Balasaheb Thackeray's dreams of scrapping Article 370 of the constitution and building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya."Modi and Amit Shah are fulfilling the dream and ideology of Balasaheb," he added."Did we take this decision in happiness? Even we were sad while taking this decision. But we were suffering for 2.5 years and that's why we had to do something. That's why in June we did what we did and 33 countries were continuously googling what we were doing," he said.Levelling tit-for-tat allegations of greed, he said, "This isn't a private limited company where you will do a partnership" for that. Addressing a rally this evening at Mumbai's Shivaji Park -- the traditional venue for Sena's Dussehra rally, Mr Thackeray had accused the Chief Minister of being a "traitor" to fulfil his "greed".PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comCalling his move to split the party a "gadar" (rebellion), he compared it to the mutiny of 1857 against the British. "In 1857, when our people fought against the British, that wasn't 'gaddari', that was 'kranti' (rebellion)... this is also a 'kranti'," he said.The Sena split in June after which the two factions have been toe-to-toe claiming the legacy of founder Balasaheb Thackeray. The battle for the bow and arrow election symbol has reached the Election Commission.
Addressing the annual Dussehra rally at the iconic Shivaji Park ground in Mumbai, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Wednesday called his successor Eknath Shinde and his supporters “traitors” and insisted that this stamp will remain forever.“As time changes, Ravan’s face also changes. Today, it is the traitors (who are Ravan). When I was unwell and underwent a surgery, I had given the responsibility to him (Shinde). But he conspired against me thinking I will never stand up on my feet again,” Shiv Sena president Thackeray said while lashing out at Shinde, whose rebellion in June brought down the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state.Thackeray said that the Shiv Sena does not belong to one person but to all loyal Sena workers. He added, “If you feel I should not remain the Sena president, I will quit. There is a limit to lust for power. After the act of treachery, he (Shinde) now wants the party, its symbol and also wants to be called the party president.”Last month, the Supreme Court had rejected the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena’s prayer to stay proceedings pending before the Election Commission of India over a request by CM Shinde for recognition of his faction as the real Shiv Sena and permission to use the party’s ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol.The former chief minister further went to say that he formed a post-poll alliance with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party to teach the BJP a lesson for breaking its promises. “I swear on my parents that it had been decided that the BJP and Shiv Sena will share the chief minister’s post for two and a half years,” Thackeray said.Thackeray also said he did not need lessons on Hindutva from the BJP. “BJP leaders visited (then Pakistan prime minister) Nawaz Sharif on his birthday without invitation and bowed before Jinnah’s grave,” he said.Concluding his speech, Thackeray sought the support and strength from Sena cadre, saying the party will bounce back.“Today I have nothing. But with your support the Shiv Sena will rise again. I will make a Shiv Sena worker chief minister again. We have to defeat the traitors in every election,” he said.Our rebellion was not act of ‘betrayal’, but ‘revolt’ : CM ShindeMaharashtra CM Shinde, meanwhile, asserted his rebellion was not an act of “betrayal”, but a “revolt” and asked Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to kneel down at party founder Bal Thackeray’s memorial and apologise for going against his ideals and aligning with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).Addressing a mega rally at the Bandra Kurla Complex’s MMRDA ground on the occasion of Dussehra, Shinde said voters in the state elected the Shiv Sena and the BJP in the 2019 Assembly elections, but Thackeray “betrayed” people by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.The rally was attended by Jaidev Thackeray, brother of Uddhav Thackeray, and his estranged wife Smita Thackeray. Nihar Thackeray, grandson of late Bal Thackeray, also attended the rally besides Champa Singh Thapa, a long-time personal aide of the Sena founder.(With inputs from PTI)
Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde both addressed people in Mumbai today on Dussehra.Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday bitterly traded charges and used caustic terms like "traitors" and "betrayer" as Shiv Sena groups headed by them held Dussehra rallies in Mumbai in what was a parallel show of strength by the rivals after the change of government three months ago.While Uddhav Thackeray branded Eknath Shinde and his supporters as "traitors" for teaming up with the BJP to wrest power, the CM said Mr Thackeray had "betrayed" people of Maharashtra who voted for the Sena and the national party to form an alliance government, by teaming up with the Congress and the NCP after the 2019 Assembly elections.Mr Thackeray made a 43-minute-long speech at Shivaji Park ground in central Mumbai, where his party has been holding the Dussehra rallies since its inception in 1966, while Mr Shinde addressed the crowd for an hour and a half at a bigger ground at Bandra Kurla Complex in the suburbs.Mr Shinde asserted his rebellion was not an act of "betrayal", but a "revolt" and asked Uddhav Thackeray to kneel down at party founder Bal Thackeray's memorial in Mumbai and apologise for going against his ideals and aligning with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).Mr Shinde said voters in the state elected the Shiv Sena and the BJP in the 2019 Assembly elections, but Mr Thackeray "betrayed" people by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.He said massive crowds at his Dussehra rally was proof enough to show who are true inheritors of Bal Thackeray's legacy.Slamming Mr Thackeray, Eknath Shinde, who heads the rebel faction of the party, said the Shiv Sena was not a "private limited company" and maintained the 56-year-old outfit was built through hard work of common Sena workers.The chief minister stoutly defended his rebellion against Mr Thackeray's leadership in June that brought down the MVA government.Mr Shinde asserted his rebellion was not an act of "betrayal" (gaddari), but a revolt (gadar).The Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena has often targeted rebels as "traitors"."We did not do 'gaddari' (betrayal), but this (rebellion) was 'gaddar' (revolt). We are not 'gaddar' (traitor), but soldiers of Balasaheb (Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray). You sold Balasaheb principles. Who are real traitors who betrayed Hindutva for the sake of power?" Mr Shinde said.The rally was attended by Jaidev Thackeray, brother of Uddhav Thackeray, and his estranged wife Smita Thackeray. Nihar Thackeray, grandson of late Bal Thackeray, also attended the rally besides Champa Singh Thapa, a long-time personal aide of the Sena founder.Mr Thackeray, who started his speech ahead of Mr Shinde, mounted a scathing attack on the chief minister and his supporters, saying their reputation as "traitors" will never be washed away."As time changes, Ravan's face also changes. Today, it is the traitors (who are Ravan). When I was unwell and underwent a surgery, I had given the responsibility to him (Shinde). But he conspired against me thinking I will never stand up on my feet again," the former chief minister said.The Shiv Sena does not belong to any one person, but it belongs to all loyal party workers, Mr Thackeray said, adding, "If you feel I should not remain the Sena president, I will quit." "There is a limit to lust for power...After the act of treachery, he now wants the party, its symbol and also wants to be called the party president," Thackeray said, targeting his one-time trusted aide who served under him in the MVA cabinet.He formed a post-poll alliance with the Congress and the NCP to teach the BJP, the Sena's former ally, a lesson for breaking its promises, Mr Thackeray maintained."I swear on my parents that it had been decided that the BJP and Shiv Sena will share the chief minister's post for two and a half years," Mr Thackeray said.The Sena had parted ways with the ally BJP after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls following differences over the issue of sharing the post of chief minister.Mr Thackeray also said he did not need lessons on Hindutva from the BJP."BJP leaders visited (then-Pakistan prime minister) Nawaz Sharif on his birthday without invitation and bowed before Jinnah's grave," he said.He accused the BJP of raising the Hindutva issue to divert attention from poverty, unemployment and inflation."RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale has shown BJP the mirror," he said, referring to Hosabale's statement about the challenges of rising income inequality and unemployment.Facing a grave challenge of retaining control over the party founded by his father late Bal Thackeray, Uddhav sought support and strength from the Sena cadre, saying the party will bounce back."Today I have nothing. But with your support the Shiv Sena will rise again. I will make a Shiv Sena worker chief minister again. We have to defeat the traitors in every election," he said, in apparent reference to the November 3 Assembly byelection in Andheri (East) in Mumbai Mr Thackeray took a 'Bahubali' jibe at Shinde and compared him to the character 'Katappa' in the superhit film.Uddhav Thackeray said, "The only thing I feel bad and angry about is that when I was admitted to the hospital, the people whom I gave the responsibility (of the state) became 'Katappa' and betrayed us... They were cutting me and thinking that I will never return from hospital." Mr Shinde said, "They call me 'Katappa'. I want to tell you, that even 'Katappa' had self-respect, and did not have double standard like you." Hitting back at Uddhav Thackeray for calling him "Katappa", a character portrayed as a betrayer in the movie 'Bahubali', the chief minister said he was not someone who practised double standards.Questioning Uddhav Thackeray's style of working, Mr Shinde asked how many times he visited Mantralaya, the state secretariat in south Mumbai, when he was the chief minister (November 2019-June 2022).Administrative works came to a virtual standstill in the two-and-a-half years of the MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray, he claimed.Mr Shinde said while Uddhav Thackeray was "working from home", he, on becoming chief minister on June 30, resorted to "work without home".Although the chief minister hailed from the Shiv Sena, it was the NCP which ran the show in the previous dispensation, CM Shinde said.Eknath Shinde assured that the Maratha community, which has been demanding reservation in government jobs and education for long will get justice.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comHe said in the next two years, there will be a 'development model' of Maharashtra.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Mumbai: The big Sena versus Sena battle on the occasion of Dussehra today started off with a stern warning from former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. "Ravan will burn," Mr Thackeray told the Eknath Shinde camp, pointing to the huge crowds at Mumbai's Shivai Park -- the traditional venue for the party's Dussehra celebration.Mr Shinde, who held a parallel rally at the MMRDA grounds, launched a sharp counter-attack. "Do you have any moral right to even stand and speak there? You used Shiv Sainiks for your personal reason and went ahead with Congress and NCP… Balasaheb Thackeray used to run the government on remote control and you gave this remote control to NCP," he said.The two factions of Sena, eye-ball to eyeball since the split in June -- are holding what has been billed as a show of strength. For the first time since the Shiv Sena's inception 56 years ago, two Dussehra rallies are being held in Mumbai by the rival factions."What will happen to Shiv Sena? Seeing the crowd here, the question now is -- what will happen to the traitors? All have gathered together. Like every year, this time too Ravana will burn. But this time Ravana is different," Mr Thackeray told the crowd at Shivaji Park.The BJP, Mr Thackeray insisted, had betrayed the Sena and this was why the alliance broke. "I swear by my parents that there was talk of half-term. Then (Union home minister) Amit Shah said nothing of the sort was decided," Mr Thackeray said.The BJP, he added, is now in the situation they tried to avoid -- making Eknath Shinde the Chief Minister. "Why didn't you do it earlier?" he said.The majority of Mr Thackeray's wrath was reserved for Mr Shinde, who, he said, had betrayed the party."How much should a man's greed be? He was given the Chief Minister's post. Now he wants the party too," he said, accusing the new Chief Minister of "stealing" his father.Mr Shinde, who is fighting to claim the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray – Uddhav Thackeray's father and the founder of Shiv Sena – had rubbed in the point quoting couplets from renowned poet Harivanshrai Bachchan."My son will not be my heir by being my son; whoever is my heir will be my son - Harivanshrai Bachchan," the Maharashtra Chief Minister tweeted, implying that legacy of a man need not necessarily be passed onto his son.At his parallel rally today, Mr Shinde insisted that the word is not "gaddar (traitor)" but "gadar (revolution)", implying that they are revolutionaries tying to take Sena back to its Hindutva roots.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMr Shinde had started his speech with chants of "Garv se kaho hum Hindu hai (Say proudly that we are Hindus)", underscoring his complaint that Uddhav Thackeray had diluted the Sena ideology with tie-up with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.The fight over the Sena's bow and arrow symbol has reached the Election Commission. The poll body said it would apply the transparent process of the "rule of majority" after the Supreme Court refused to stop it from deciding who was the "real" Shiv Sena.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has come under fire from the opposition for failing to comply with a Supreme Court’s order that has led to the deferment of urban local body elections in the state.The Patna High Court recently ruled that the Bihar government had “failed” to observe the “triple test” criteria laid down by the Supreme Court in 2021 for reserving seats for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) in urban and municipal local body polls.The high court said that the current reservation of seats for OBCs and EBCs was “illegal” since the Bihar government failed to set up a dedicated commission to quantify backwardness for giving reservation in local body polls.The first phase of local body polls was scheduled for October 10.Nitish, who is known for his deft social engineering, seems to have floundered this time by disregarding the apex court’s order which had led to the cancellation of local body polls in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra last year.While hearing a case pertaining to Maharashtra local body polls last year, the Supreme Court had come up with a “triple test” mandate that requires setting up a dedicated commission to collect quantifiable data to determine backwardness of OBCs in local bodies; specifying the proportion of reservation required in light of the recommendation of the commission; and imposing a reservation ceiling of 50 per cent.Sources told The Indian Express that the law department of the Bihar government had asked the state election commission to proceed with the polls despite being aware of the Supreme Court order.BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi told The Indian Express: “I had followed up the matter with top bureaucrats of the state government, but they still sought a favourable legal opinion despite a 2010 order of the Supreme Court clearly saying that political reservation is different from reservation in education and jobs.”“We are surprised and dismayed at the Bihar government for not adhering to the triple test mandated by the Supreme Court ,” he added.Modi alleged that crores of rupees spent by the candidates for local body elections would go waste because of the chief minister’s defiance of the court’s order.“No bureaucrat dared to give him the right advice. Despite the state election commission writing to the state government citing the two orders of the Supreme Court delivered in 2021, the Bihar government decided to go ahead with local body polls which were bound to be cancelled,” Modi said.The high court order passed by Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar directed the Bihar government to hold the elections “only by immediately re-notifying the seats reserved for OBC category, treating them as general category seats.” The court said: “The state of Bihar may consider enacting a comprehensive legislation pertaining to reservations in elections to local bodies…. ”Sources in the government said that Nitish insisted on following the recommendations laid down by previous OBC and EBC commissions, and said that the “triple test” mandate was not required to be followed since the guidelines laid down by the erstwhile commissions were already being observed.But the Patna High Court rejected the state government’s argument and said, “No point of reference to the Backward Class Commission or Extremely Backward Class Commission for ascertaining political backwardness is placed on record.”The court also observed that the “procedure and pattern adopted by the Government/ Election Commission in reserving the seats for the OBC category in all the municipalities, be it municipal corporation, municipality or Nagar Parishad, is identical… reservation across the board is provided without evaluating any parameters, except population….”It also reprimanded the state election commission for kowtowing to the Bihar government.“The Election Commission is definitely not subservient to the government. It did not revise its opinion. It did not seek any legal opinion before acting on the government’s diktats,” the order said, adding that the Election Commission “shall review its functioning as an autonomous and independent body.”Nitish’s JD (U) has been finding it difficult to defend the chief minister for not adhering to the SC order.While several senior JD (U) leaders refused to speak on the matter, the party’s parliamentary board chief Upendra Kushwaha called the verdict “unfortunate”.Blaming the central government, Kushwaha said: “Had there been an all-India caste census, we could have given all relevant data desired by the court.”Modi, however, countered Kushwaha by saying that the court had enquired about data relevant for local government and the caste census had nothing to do with local body polls.Referring to the Supreme Court’s ‘triple test’ order on Maharashtra local body elections, JD (U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh told reporters: “Since we have been giving reservation in local bodies since 2007, what happens in Maharashtra now?”Singh accused the BJP of being “anti-reservation”.RJD national spokesperson Subodh Kumar attacked the BJP for its “failure” to set up a dedicated commission as per the court’s order. “What was the BJP doing? It had been previously very much part of the government with Nitish Kumar,” he said.
As Mumbai, and Maharashtra, counted down to the mega battle of optics between the two Shiv Senas on Dussehra evening, one party played it absolutely cool: the BJP.While it is the senior partner in the ruling alliance with the Eknath Shinde-led Sena, the BJP is not participating in its show of strength at the Bandra Kurla Complex’s MMRDA grounds. The Shinde Sena didn’t extend an invite to any BJP leader, and none was expected, BJP sources said.“Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is in Nagpur. He had to attend the annual RSS Vijayadashmi Utsav,” a leader said, explaining the senior BJP leader’s absence from Mumbai Wednesday. Similarly, sources said, other BJP leaders too were busy with their Vijayadashmi celebrations.Moreover, BJP leaders said, the Mumbai Dussehra rally is a Sena tradition and a purely party function – not a government event or an election campaign rally.However, their moral support is fully with the Shinde Sena, the BJP leaders said; in their individual capacity, BJP leaders could help out the Shinde Sena if they wanted. Maharashtra party president Chandrashekhar Bawankule said, “Eknath Shinde is leading the real Shiv Sena. He is holding the Dussehra rally.”Another, unsaid, reason is that the BJP wants to not be publicly caught up in the Sena’s internal differences. Letting the Uddhav and Shinde Senas slug it out might even work in the BJP’s favour, ahead of the crucial BMC polls. The Sena has been dominant in the corporation for long, and its appearance as a house divided would go in the BJP’s favour.As a BJP vice-president, who did not wish to be named, noted: “For the first time, we are going to witness a divided Shiv Sena on Dussehra.”
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is now the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), reflecting the national ambitions of its founder and chief K Chandrashekar Rao.Rao, the Telangana Chief Minister, Wednesday held a meeting of the TRS State General Body at the party headquarters in Hyderabad. Among the attendees was Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who arrived with 20 of his party MLAs. Tamil Nadu-based Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s T. Thirumavalavan, a Dalit leader, also came with a group of party representatives.The members of TRS, which was launched in April 2001, unanimously approved a resolution to change its name and make it a national party. Now, a party delegation led by politburo member B Vinod Kumar will approach the Election Commission and submit an application seeking the name change and registration as a national party.Leaders said changes were also made to the party’s constitution during the meeting.Before the meeting, Rao hosted Kumaraswamy, Thirumavalavan and their party members for breakfast. Sources said BRS and JD(S) have decided to jointly contest elections in Karnataka.In his bid to form a non-BJP, non-Congress alliance, KCR has met in recent months a number pf of top Opposition faces including Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president Shibu Soren, Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin, Shiv Sena president and ex-Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, JD(S) chief and ex-PM H D Deve Gowda, ex-Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav, and former Gujarat CM Shankersinh Vaghela.The TRS camp has also been closely watching Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, the election to the AICC president’s post, and the meetings of regional party leaders — such as the one that Nitish and Lalu recently had with Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking the formation of a united Opposition front for the 2024 general elections — to gauge the moves of regional leaders.Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president A Revanth Reddy ridiculed KCR for removing the word Telangana from his party. “The word represents this region and its people. It is an identity and a sentiment. By removing the word, KCR has butchered it and disrespected it. He has also severed all connections of the party with Telangana,” he said.K Krishna Sagar Rao, chief spokesperson of the Telangana BJP unit, said KCR’s national entry while “struggling to keep his government operational” financially is a “misadventure”. “This is not the first time a regional party has nurtured national ambition. Many have tried and failed. I strongly believe the initiative is self-sabotage. The name change will lead to him losing his home turf, while he embarks on a wasteful national ambition,’’ he said.
Pankaja Munde was a cabinet minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government. (File)Aurangabad, Maharashtra: BJP leader Pankaja Munde today said she was not disgruntled over not getting any post, and would start preparations for contesting the 2024 Maharashtra Assembly elections from Parli.Ms Munde, daughter of BJP leader late Gopinath Munde, was speaking at her customary Dussehra rally at Sawargaon Ghat in Beed district."Struggle is part of everyone's life. Even Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had to struggle. Late Gopinath Munde had to struggle throughout his entire political career. He got into government for only four and a half years," she said.She was carrying forward the legacy of Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya, Pankaja further said.Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda had seen the crowds at her earlier Dussehra rallies and asked her to work for these people, she said."People think their leader should get something and there is nothing wrong with that. I am not holding any post since 2019 Assembly polls but I am not disgruntled," the former state minister said.She, however, made it clear that she wanted to contest again from Parli, where her estranged cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde had defeated her last time."But the party organization is above any person. I am not disgruntled with anyone. I shall start preparations for 2024 polls if the party gave me a ticket," she said.She changed herself as much as she could, and now it was the turn of those who wanted her to change, she said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMs Munde was a cabinet minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led government in the state between 2014 and 2019. But she did not make it to the cabinet when the BJP came to power again this June in alliance with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
BJP leader Pankaja Munde on Wednesday said she was not disgruntled over not getting any post, and would start preparations for contesting the 2024 Maharashtra Assembly elections from Parli. Munde, daughter of BJP stalwart late Gopinath Munde, was speaking at her customary Dussehra rally at Sawargaon Ghat in Beed district. "Struggle is part of everyone's life. Even Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had to struggle. Late Gopinath Munde had to struggle throughout his entire political career. He got into government for only four and a half years," she said. She was carrying forward the legacy of Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya, Pankaja further said. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda had seen the crowds at her earlier Dussehra rallies and asked her to work for these people, she said. "People think their leader should get something and there is nothing wrong with that. I am not holding any post since 2019 Assembly polls but I am not disgruntled," the former state minister said. She, however, made it clear that she wanted to contest again from Parli, where her estranged cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde had defeated her last time. "But the party organization is above any person. I am not disgruntled with anyone. I shall start preparations for 2024 polls if the party gave me a ticket," she said. She changed herself as much as she could, and now it was the turn of those who wanted her to change, she said. Munde was a cabinet minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led government in the state between 2014 and 2019. But she did not make it to the cabinet when the BJP came to power again this June in alliance with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction.
Candidate of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena gets support from Congress in Andheri East bypollMumbai: The Congress in Maharashtra on Wednesday announced support for the candidate of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in the November 3 byelection to Andheri East Assembly constituency in Mumbai.The election was necessitated due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke.State Congress chief Nana Patole told reporters that his party would support Rutuja Latke, wife of Ramesh Latke, has been fielded by the Shiv Sena.Ramesh Latke, a two-time MLA, had defeated Congress's Suresh Shetty in 2014 from the constituency to enter the Legislative Assembly.He died on May 11 this year while on a trip to Dubai.The BJP plans to nominate Murji Patel, as per party sources.The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress was formed after the 2019 Assembly elections results to keep the "communal" BJP out of power in the interest of Maharashtra, Patole said.The MVA coalition government took many decisions for the people's welfare, Patole said.The BJP misused central agencies like the ED and CBI to topple the government, but its efforts to break the MVA would not succeed, he added."In the battle against the BJP, the Congress will not field its candidate in the Andheri East byelection. We will work with full strength to ensure that Shiv Sena's candidate wins," Mr Patole said.This would be the first election in the state after the split in the Shiv Sena in June.Meanwhile, city Congress leader and former MP Milind Deora said the Shiv Sena should support a Congress candidate next time as a reciprocal gesture.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"As long as coalition dharma is being followed sincerely, there is no harm in having an alliance," he tweeted.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
State Congress chief Nana Patole Wednesday said his party will throw its weight behind the Shiv Sena candidate in the upcoming Andheri East bypolls slated to be held on November 3. The seat was with Congress till 2014. Earlier this year, the seat fell vacant after the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke.The Shiv Sena has announced a ticket for Latke’s wife Rutuja.Patole said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance was formed after the results of the assembly election to keep the “communal BJP” out of power for the benefit of Maharashtra. “When BJP’s efforts to break the MVA were not successful, they broke Shiv Sena party. In the battle against BJP, the Congress party firmly stands with Shiv Sena and will not field any candidate. Instead, leaders and workers of the Congress will work full strength to ensure that the Shiv Sena candidate wins,” Patole said.Listing out the MVA government’s works, Patole said, “Our government (MVA) had taken many welfare decisions like farmer loan waivers and had done good work during the Covid-19 crisis. On the other hand, BJP misused the central agencies like ED and CBI to topple the MVA government by taking away Sena MLAs.”Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap said, “We are still in MVA and are together. If one of my leaders (Patole) says I have to support, then the Mumbai unit will support (Shiv Sena).”
On Wednesday, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao finally takes his planned national leap, with a new party. The veteran leader who fought for Telangana statehood hopes to be the face that non-BJP, non-Congress parties are looking for. Vinod Kumar was one of the founding members of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), is vice-chairman of the Telangana State Planning Board, and a former MP. He speaks on their plans for the Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti party, the states and allies they are looking at, and why KCR is the answer. Excerpts:Who will be the members of the Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti (BRS) party?KUMAR: The BRS will be headed by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao at the national level. From across the country, many small and regional parties want to merge with the BRS. These parties were launched earlier in different states by different leaders, but due to various reasons, could not take off. They are very eager to merge with the BRS. The leaders of these parties will be appointed to various positions in the BRS. It is a bit early to reveal their names.Which states will the BRS contest in?KUMAR: The BRS will initially focus on regions where the BJP and Congress are present but there is no third alternative, and people are seeking another political party. We will only concentrate on the Lok Sabha elections for now. We are getting a very good response in neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra. We are also looking at Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh. We are looking at regions all over the country where there is a requirement for an alternative party.What do you think of the BJP challenge in Telangana? By forcing the state government to commemorate ‘Liberation Day’ on September 17 (the day the Hyderabad princely state became a part of India), has the BJP pushed the TRS on the back foot?KUMAR: The BJP is making a lot of noise but it is not a threat to the TRS. Obviously, they have gained some ground in the state due to which they are able to make the noise, but it is not significant. We have been commemorating September 17 as Liberation Day since the formation of the TRS in 2000. We raise the national flag at our party office every year. We did not take an official stand because we did not want to antagonise the minorities, and we do not have any hesitation in saying that. But now we have managed to rope in the minorities too to commemorate September 17, so there is no question of the TRS being on the back foot.Other regional party leaders initially warmed up to KCR but they seem to be staying away now.KUMAR: That is not at all the case. In fact, all regional party leaders are eager to team up with the BRS and they share KCR’s vision and appreciate the initiative he is taking. In fact, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy has already arrived in Hyderabad. The CM called up the Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav last night and asked him not to come as his father Mulayam Singh Yadav is hospitalised. All regional party leaders very much support KCR.Do you think an alternative alliance without the Congress is possible?KUMAR: In 2004, the UPA was possible with the Congress because it had 140 seats. Now it has below 50. The Congress is disintegrating and there is no chance of a revival. There is no other party or alliance that is able to counter the BJP. In this scenario, a political alternative without the Congress has to emerge and is very much possible. KCR’s efforts will ultimately culminate in an alternative party.Will the CM’s son, K T Rama Rao (Telangana minister and TRS working president), or daughter K Kavitha (a former MP and sitting MLC) have a role in the new organisation?KUMAR: Nothing as of now. The CM will decide on that in the coming days.
“Elections are the essence of democracy and elections which are long overdue has deprived the voters of Bengaluru City (of an opportunity) in electing their representatives, thus causing inconvenience and hardship,” the Karnataka High Court said in its September 30 order regarding the Bengaluru city council polls due since September 2020.With eight months to go for the Karnataka Assembly polls, there seems to be a growing perception among grassroots politicians in the state that no political party is interested in the conduct of local body polls amid the looming state polls, notwithstanding the orders of the high court and the Supreme Court for the conduct of immediate polls for local bodies whose terms have ended.In Karnataka, elections have been due for the 243-seat Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) since September 2020 and for 1098 Zilla Panchayat seats and 3903 Taluk Panchayat seats across the state since March 2021.The elections for the Bengaluru city council was expected to be held in the next couple of months after the BJP-led Karnataka government completed a delimitation exercise to create 45 new wards in the city on July 14 and fixed reservations for OBC and women in the city council on August 16. The delimitation exercise has passed the initial test of law in the high court but the reservations for OBC and women has been quashed by the court for being “unscientific and arbitrary”.The high court has asked the BJP government to redo the reservations in a scientific manner and to ensure completion of the BBMP polls by December 31. “I hope and trust that the state government shall make all endeavours to complete the election process on or before 31.12.2022,” Justice Hemant Chandangoudar of the high court ordered on September 30.However, many former Bengaluru councillors do not believe that the BBMP polls could be held before the state Assembly polls slated for May 2023. “The government is not interested in conducting the civic polls. This cycle of litigation to impede the conduct of the polls is going to go on till the Assembly polls. All political parties are not interested in the conduct of civic polls and this is not a new phenomenon,” said an ex-Congress councillor.“The MLAs and MPs want to have control over all affairs in a region. When Rajiv Gandhi introduced the Panchayat Raj system for decentralising power it was envisioned that there should not be a single day when there are vacancies in local bodies for failure to conduct polls – even if a Legislative Assembly can be kept in suspended animation for up to six months,” the former councillor said.The Karnataka high court in fact said on September 30 that the Bengaluru civic polls cannot be held if reservations continue to be litigated over by various groups. It made the remarks after a litigant informed the court that there were anomalies in reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes as well in the August 16 notification of the state government.“Why do you want to stop elections? There will be no elections at all at this cost. You do not want elections at the end of the day. Let them satisfy the triple test (prescribed by the SC) and let the elections go on,” the HC said.State governments tend to use their powers to prescribe the reservations for local bodies once in five years and delimitation of constituencies once in 10 years to control the holding of elections to local bodies, say former Bengaluru councillors. The BJP government in Karnataka has delayed the BBMP elections since September 2020 by citing the need for delimitation of constituencies and bringing in a new reservation matrix.“The Zilla Panchayat polls in Karnataka are in the courts, the Taluk Panchayat polls are in the courts. The Gram Panchayat and some city council polls were held only after the orders of the courts,” said an ex-Bengaluru councillor.“Since Rajiv Gandhi brought in the Panchayat Raj system and the devolution of powers to urban local bodies, the Congress party is wary about avoiding local polls when it is in power. When S M Krishna was the CM (between 1999-2004) local polls were held a month ahead of schedule. When Siddaramaiah was the CM (2013-2018) the polls were held a month after the terms of local bodies. The BJP has often delayed the polls for long periods. In the period between 2007-2010 elections were not held and the courts had to intervene. Now the same thing is being done again,” the former councillor said.A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in an order on May 10 in the course of adjudication of issues relating to local polls in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, said delays in holding elections “would inevitably result in creating hiatus situation upon expiry of five year terms of the outgoing elected body. Such an eventuality needs to be eschewed by all the duty holders. A priori, it is not only a constitutional obligation of the State Election Commission but also of the State Government and the constitutional Courts.”“We also make it clear that this order and directions given are not limited to the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission/State of Madhya Pradesh; and Maharashtra State Election Commission/State of Maharashtra in terms of a similar order passed on 04.05.2022, but to all the States/Union Territories and the respective Election Commission to abide by the same without fail to uphold the constitutional mandate,” the apex court bench said.On December 15, 2021, the apex court had ordered for all OBC seats to be declared general seats for the conduct of local polls in Maharashtra which had been delayed due to the lack of a scientific OBC quota plan as sought by the SC.The SC in an order on January 19, 2022 said that in the states the “election to any local body cannot be postponed beyond the statutory period” and that “the concerned (State) Election Commission ought to notify proportionate seats as open category seats, and proceed with the elections of the local bodies” in the event of delays in carving out the OBC reservation matrix.The top court allowed the Karnataka government on July 28, 2022 to create reservations in the BBMP for OBCs despite polls being delayed by nearly two years since the BBMP is a newly-constituted body under the BBMP Act, 2020 and the reservations on a rotation basis as prescribed under Article 243T of the Constitution of India was not applicable to the reconstituted local body.The ruling BJP and the principal Opposition Congress have stated that civic polls cannot be held in Karnataka without prescribed quotas for the OBC communities, which make up nearly 33 percent of the population in the state. An exercise carried out by the BJP government to prescribe OBC quota for the BBMP on the basis of empirical data – as sought by the SC in a 2010 order for OBC reservations in local bodies – was declared unscientific and imaginary by the HC on September 30.
MUMBAI: Suggesting the Congress must field a candidate for the November 3 Andheri (East) assembly by-election instead of giving up the seat for the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, former Congress MP Milind Deora on Tuesday said opposition to the BJP doesn't mean Congress is relegated to third position in Mumbai. Deora said just like the Andheri (East) bypoll was a litmus test for the rival Senas, it was also a litmus test for Congress. Deora, who joined Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on his Bharat Jodo Yarta recently in Kerala, said he had discussed the issue with party leaders. "I have discussed this with Suresh Shetty and several local leaders and will take it up with the interim party leadership. The Andheri (East) by-election will have a bearing on the BMC polls. Some Congress workers are open to an alliance while others are vehemently opposed. Alliance is possible only if it is done on equal terms. Otherwise it is not in Congress's long-term interests," he noted. Deora, who has taken on Shiv Sena over corruption in the BMC and redrawing of ward boundaries for BMC polls, said Congress must aspire to become the principal opposition to BJP at the Centre and in the state and to the Sena in BMC. He added, "We have seen what happened in other states when Congress relinquishes opposition space to like-minded allies. If there is an alliance with Sena for Andheri (E), conditions must be specified in advance and there must be a clear give and take." He said Congress had "formidable votes in the area and had wrested this seat from Sena in the past. If we transfer our votes to Sena, it must be with conditions." He alleged that as far as delimitation exercise for BMC polls was concerned, Sena had acted to hurt Congress prospects.
Telangana Chief Minister and TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) supremo K Chandrashekar Rao, who is aspiring to play a major role in national politics and form an anti-BJP alliance of regional parties, is all set to launch a national political party on Dussehra Wednesday at a conclave of party leaders, ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs and district level coordinators, which will be held at the TRS headquarters Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad.“The CM will announce the renaming of TRS as Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti (BRS),’’ said the Telangana State Planning Board vice-chairman and ex-MP, B Vinod Kumar. The announcement would be made in the afternoon at an “auspicious time” in the presence of over 250 TRS leaders and lawmakers.Vinod Kumar said the TRS will contest the polls in other states, as any regional party can contest elections in other states after informing the Election Commission (EC) without having to register as a national party.TRS sources said that the party would field candidates for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from several states. On the eve of the Dussehra festival, the CM extended greetings to the people and said that the festival is celebrated as a sign of the establishment of Dharma and as Vijaya Dasami, which brings victories.As the EC announced Monday that the bypoll for Telangana’s Munugode Assembly constituency would be held on November 3, there was some uncertainty in the TRS about Wednesday’s meeting. However, KCR released a statement stating that the TRS’s general body meeting scheduled for 11 am on October 5 would be held as per schedule.The CM said the EC’s Munugode by-poll notification would not have any bearing on the TRS’s Wednesday meeting. “All the TRS leaders, MLAs and MPs and others were specifically instructed not to have any apprehensions over the conduct of the meeting in the wake of the EC notification. Leaders are requested to attend the meeting within the specified time,’’ a statement issued by KCR’s office said.During the crucial TRS conclave, KCR’s proposed national party, its structure, constitution and policies would be discussed. The CM will put forward his plans, present a roadmap for the party and discuss the way forward, sources said.KCR is said to be keen on preparing a plan of action for the welfare and upliftment of the farming community and comprehensive roadmaps for Dalits and for promoting communal harmony and tolerance in the country.He has been working on his water plans. He has said that many regions face shortage of water for irrigation and drinking as the 70,000 TMC of water available in the country is not harvested properly. He has announced that when a non-BJP coalition comes to power at the Centre, free electricity will be given to all the farmers in the country. He has also plans for proper utilisation of 4,04 lakh MW installed power capacity in the country, which he says has been underutilised by the Narendra Modi government.KCR will hold a public meeting in Delhi on December 9. He has been seeking to promote peace and communal harmony in the country.In his bid to form a non-BJP, non-Congress alliance, KCR has met in recent months a slew of top Opposition faces including Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president Shibu Soren, Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin, Shiv Sena president and ex-Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, JD(S) chief and ex-PM H D Deve Gowda, ex-Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav, and former Gujarat CM Shankersinh Vaghela.The TRS camp has also been closely watching Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, the current election to the AICC president’s post, and the meetings of regional party leaders – such as the one that Nitish and Lalu recently had with Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking the formation of a united Opposition front for the 2024 general elections – to gauge the moves of regional leaders.
MUMBAI: Suggesting that the Congress must field a candidate for next month’s Andheri (East) by-elections instead of giving up the seat for the Shiv Sena, former Congress MP Milind Deora on Tuesday said that opposition to the BJP doesn’t mean that Congress is relegated to third position in Mumbai. Deora said that just like the Andheri (East) by-election was a litmus test for both Senas, it was also a litmus test for the Congress. Deora who has taken on the Shiv Sena over corruption in the BMC and the redrawing of ward boundaries for the BMC polls, said the Congress must aspire to become the principal opposition to BJP in the centre and state and to the Shiv Sena in BMC. “Just like the Andheri (East) by-election is a litmus test for both Senas, it is also a litmus test for the Congress. We have seen what has happened in other states when Congress relinquishes the opposition space to like-minded allies. If there is an alliance with Shiv Sena for Andheri (East), it must be on equal terms. The conditions must be specified in advance and there must be a clear give and take. Congress is no longer the principal opposition in the Maharashtra assembly. We must not allow the same to happen ahead of the BMC polls,” Deora told TOI. Deora who joined Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on his Bharat Jodo Yarta recently in Kerala said that he had discussed the issue with the party leaders. “The Congress had formidable votes in the constituency and we had wrested this seat from Shiv Sena in the past. If we transfer our votes to Shiv Sena, it must be with certain terms and conditions. I have discussed this with Suresh Shetty and several local leaders and will take it up with the interim party leadership. The Andheri (East) election will have a bearing on the BMC polls. Hence it is imperative that Congress plans to retain the post of Leader of Opposition in BMC ahead of the polls. Some Congress workers are open to an alliance while others are vehemently opposed. The former is possible only if it is done on equal terms. Otherwise it is not in Congress’s long-term interests,” Deora said. When asked if the Congress was going to leave the Andheri (East) seat for the Sena, and if there will be a Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) for the BMC polls, Deora said, “This will be decided and made public soon. All options are open provided they are in accordance with coalition dharma. As far as the delimitation exercise was concerned, Shiv Sena acted unilaterally to hurt Congress’s prospects,” Deora said. While former BMC Corporator Murji Patel is likely to be the BJP’s candidate for the by-poll, Shiv Sena had decided to field Rutuja Latke, the widow of former Sena MLA late Ramesh Latke for the by-polls. While the NCP has supported the Sena, the Congress is yet to take a decision.
MUMBAI: A day after RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale flagged poverty and lack of jobs, MPCC president Nana Patole on Monday said RSS should question the Narendra Modi government instead of expressing hollow concerns over rising inequality. “Since the formation of the BJP government, which works on the ideals of RSS, issues like inflation, poverty and unemployment have grown alarmingly. The central government has been criticised by people from different walks of life. Despite huge discontent, the Modi government has failed to address these issues. RSS has realised these issues now, but it’s too late,” said Patole. He said if RSS was really concerned about inflation and social disparity, it should force the Modi government to take decisions in the interest of all people and not in the interest of a few selected people. “The real social disparity in the country has been nurtured and entrenched by RSS itself. RSS should knock at the doors of Narendra Modi and seek an answer from him. In our opinion, RSS is responsible for spreading the seeds of inequality in the country. For last eight years, we have the government with the same ideology and BJP is directly working under the RSS ideology.”
NAGPUR/WARDHA: Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor said that while he visited Deekshabhoomi and Sevagram as his first pit stop on the Congress party president poll campaign, he also wanted to send a message to people about the RSS. Tharoor, who ended his two-day tour of Nagpur and Wardha on Sunday, also said that Congress practices ideologies of both Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar. “To do this (visit) in the capital city of RSS also sends a signal that there is an alternative vision of India, to the one that is celebrated by an important institution in the city (RSS),” said Tharoor. He acknowledged that it was local Congress leader and former MLA Ashish Deshmukh who convinced him to come here. “That’s why I chose to accept this idea by Ashish, and come here to do these symbolic things,” said Tharoor. On Sunday, Tharoor marked Gandhi Jayanti by visiting the Bapu Kuti at Sevagram (Wardha district). Tharoor also tried his hand at Ambar Charkha at ‘Bapu Kuti’ in the ashram. He said, “Gandhi showed the way for freedom struggle because of which we got independence.” This was Tharoor’s second big port-of-call, a day after paying homage to Ambedkar at Deekshabhoomi where the latter had embraced Buddhism. During his visit to Deekshabhoomi, Tharoor also gifted his book on Ambedkar to the trustees of the historical place. In Wardha, Tharoor said that Congress party imbibes teaching of both the great leaders. “Both the ideologies of Ambedkar and Gandhi are in Congress. Of course, Ambedkar was not in Congress but he was supported by the party and made a chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution. So, it was my responsibility to pay tributes to both the great men,” said Tharoor. On Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Tharoor said that there has been a “tremendous” response. “I was amazed to see the number of people joining the movement,” said Tharoor and added that this could very well change the number game for 2024 general elections. “The Gandhis are an asset to our party. There is a huge voter base that absolutely loves the Gandhis,” said Tharoor. Tharoor pointed out that Modi was made PM by 36% of voters, “which means that 64% votes went to the other 40 major parties”. “We are also talking to them and in 2024 BJP will be defeated. Our party is now being revived through the yatra,” he said.