Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s remark that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has become an “icon of olden times” has sparked a heated row, putting the ruling BJP on the defensive as the Opposition parties, including the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), trained their guns on the saffron party over it.The 17th century warrior king Shivaji is revered in Maharashtra, with his life and accomplishments held in high esteem by all sections across the state. The controversy has raised a question in the state political circles as to why a person holding the high constitutional office of Governor would make such a comment publicly.During his speech at Dr Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad after presenting the D.Litt degrees toBJP leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari and NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday, Koshyari said: “Earlier, when you would be asked who is your icon — Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Mahatma Gandhi used to be the answer. Whereas in Maharashtra, you need not look elsewhere (as) there are so many icons here… while Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is of olden times, there are icons such as Ambedkar and Nitin Gadkari in modern times.”Governor Koshyari immediately drew fire from the Opposition parties over his Shivaji remark, with the Congress and the NCP demanding his recall while targeting the BJP.NCP spokesperson Clyde Castro demanded that President Droupadi Murmu immediately recall the Governor, adding that Koshyari has made such controversial remarks repeatedly earlier.Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole also demanded Koshyari’s recall over the row.The Shiv Sena (UBT)’s leader Anil Desai said, “Such insults to our warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is totally unacceptable. It also reflects mindset of those who are making such remarks.”There were also angry reactions from various other state organisations such as Sambhaji Brigade, putting Chief Minister and Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde as well as the BJP’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis in a spot.Sambhaji Brigade leader Santosh Shinde charged that Koshyari’s remarks betrayed his “anti-Shivaji mindset”. “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has remained in the hearts and minds of the people of Maharashtra and India. He continues to remain our inspiration for the last three-and-half centuries. The high ideals of Shivaji Maharaj are firmly embedded in each and every individual. One should visit forts to see and experience them,” he said.Former BJP MP Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, a descendant of Shivaji, said: “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is a legend. He is the guiding force and inspiration for the past, present, and future.”A day after the row erupted, which left the ruling saffron party red-faced in the state as well as at the Centre, the state BJP sought to distance itself from Koshyari’s remarks. BJP leader Praveen Darekar said, “It is incorrect to equate or draw parallel between Shivaji Maharaj and others. Shivaji Maharaj is our god. We draw inspiration from his life and work.”A senior Maharashtra BJP functionary said, “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj remains our inspiration. We accord him highest place. We worship him.”Patole also demanded an apology from the BJP, alleging that its national spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi has meanwhile also made “insulting comments” against Shivaji that the latter had “apologised” to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb five times. During a TV debate on the row sparked by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s charges that the Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar had filed mercy pleas before the colonial British to set himself free from the Andamans and Nicobar prison, Trivedi said, “In earlier times, it was a usual practice to apologise to secure one’s release. Even Shivaji Maharaj had written five letters to Aurangzeb. But the fact is that Savarkar had not sworn allegiance to the British constitution.”The Maharashtra BJP has urged the party’s central unit to caution leaders in general not to make any controversial comments on Shivaji.In Maharashtra, political parties have often sought to use the iconic Shivaji to boost their electoral fortunes. From renaming of airports and railway stations after him to celebrating his birth anniversary — state parties have always vied with each other in staking their claims over Shivaji’s legacy. A classic case in point is that Shivaji’s birth anniversary is celebrated twice in Maharashtra — as per English and Hindu calendars.In 1996, the Victoria Terminus railway station was renamed after Chhatrapati Shivaji. In 1999, the Mumbai airport was also renamed after Shivaji. In 2018, the then BJP-Sena coalition government added the term “Maharaj” to them. On all these occasions, the proposals got unanimous support from all political parties.Koshyari’s tenure has seen many controversies, with his remarks on various issues setting off rows at regular intervals.Earlier, he had drawn flak from political parties for saying that “Who would have known Shivaji Maharaj without his guru Samarth Ramdas.”A few months ago, he had said, “If Gujaratis and Rajasthanis had left Mumbai, there would be no money left in the city.” Following a furore, he later apologised for this comment.The Congress, NCP and Uddhav Sena have periodically slammed Koshiyari for his “partisan role” in the Raj Bhavan.
He had refrained from campaigning in Himachal Pradesh, leaving the task of leading the party’s election efforts to his sister and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. But with a perception gaining ground that the Congress campaign is not taking off in Gujarat, and that the Aam Aadmi Party is far ahead in the optics and narrative game, Rahul Gandhi will address two rallies in Gujarat next week – his first such political engagement since the Bharat Jodo Yatra began on September 7.Rahul will address two rallies — one in Surat and the other in Rajkot — on November 21. The Bharat Jodo Yatra has a rest day on November 21 as well as November 22.Rahul was in Gujarat last in the first week of September — just two days before he began his cross-country march from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. Rahul has not campaigned in the state so far this election. This has been surprising for party supporters since he had led an energetic campaign in 2017, powering the Congress to 77 seats (its highest since 1985) and stopping the BJP from reaching the 100 mark..In Surat, an industrial hub in south Gujarat where the Congress could not make any inroads in 2017 despite the anti-GST protests, the expected impact of demonetisation and Rahul’s aggressive campaigning, the Congress will address a rally in the tribal seat of Mahuva.Although the BJP had won in Surat and adjoining areas in 2017, the Congress had performed well in the Scheduled Tribe belts in south Gujarat and elsewhere.Overall, the party had won 17 of the 27 constituencies reserved for STs in the last elections. Fourteen of these constituencies are in south Gujarat.The party hopes to better its tally this time, but the feedback from the ground is worrying. With Rahul addressing a rally in Mahuva, the party hopes that it will have an impact in nearby reserved constituencies like Vyara, Nizar, Valsad, Kaprada and Dangs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the BJP’s campaign from Kaprada in Valsad on November 6.Party leaders claim the Gandhis still retain much goodwill among the tribals and it was important that a member of the family visit a reserved constituency to send a message to the tribals, who form 14% of the electorate.AAP too is eyeing the tribal vote and Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal has held three rallies in tribal districts.The Congress is said to be also keen that Priyanka campaign in the state and address a couple of rallies in the tribal region.Apart from Surat, Rahul will address a public meeting in Rajkot, a BJP bastion which is at the centre of the Saurashtra region. Although the party faced a rout in the Rajkot district in 2017, it had, yet again, performed better than expected in the Saurashtra region, winning 28 seats, up from 15 it held earlier.The BJP has been winning all the three Assembly seats in Rajkot for a long time. It was from Rajkot West that Modi had contested his maiden election in 2001, to enter the Gujarat Assembly. Vijay Rupani too had won a bypoll to Rajkot West in 2014 before becoming a minister and subsequently Chief Minister in 2016.AAP too had set its sights on Rajkot. But the departure of Indranil Rajyaguru, who had quit the Congress to join it earlier this year, is expected to dent its chances. Rajyaguru is back in the Congress now and is the party’s nominee from Rajkot East, a seat he has won before.Sources in the party said Rahul is likely to return to Gujarat towards the end of the month to campaign for seats which go to polls in the second phase of the elections. He is expected to address two rallies in North and Central Gujarat.
RAHUL Gandhi may have gone ahead with his remarks on Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar during the Maharashtra leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) despite strong advice against it by the Congress state leadership.According to sources within the Congress, Rahul was advised by three senior party leaders to avoid mentioning Savarkar’s controversial mercy petition issue during his speeches in Maharashtra. “One of the concerns was the reaction of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena. The state unit’s leaders wanted to avoid controversy, and asked Rahul to focus only on issues of unemployment, inflation and agrarian crisis,” an insider told The Indian Express.“Despite the advice, that Rahul chose to rake up the Savarkar issue, that too with documents and, at a press conference, shows that he was prepared to attack,” said an AICC leader, while pointing out that there has never been any ambiguity regarding Rahul’s stand on Savarkar, even when the Maha Vikas Aghadi was formed with the Shiv Sena and NCP.Rahul’s decision to take on the BJP criticism head-on has also left the state Congress leadership to face complex issues – especially when it comes to coalitions — it would have rather avoided. Its frontline state leaders steer clear of certain topics sensitive to Maharashtra, like Savarkar, who – more than his contributions to Hindu nationalism – is much revered for his contribution to Marathi culture in terms of poems and his attempt to “purify” the Marathi language.There is also consternation in the Congress ranks due to the fact that the Bharat Jodo Yatra had entered Maharashtra on a successful note of unity projected by the MVA, with Supriya Sule of the NCP and Aaditya Thackeray of the Uddhav Sena walking with Rahul. Following the Savarkar row, and the BJP protests, while Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has warned of rift, Uddhav stayed away from a Rahul public meeting he was supposed to attend.Among allies who have joined the Yatra since it entered Maharashtra have been Sule, NCP state president Jayant Patil, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad and Aaditya.The Congress has tried to retrieve the situation, with its communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh saying at a press conference in Buldhana that there was no pre-planned strategy to attack Savarkar in the state of his birth. “Rahul was speaking on the occasion of the birth anniversary of tribal icon Birsa Munda. He mentioned Savarkar in the context of how Munda did not compromise with the British, while Savarkar signed a mercy petition, which is a fact.”He added that Nathuram Godse being influenced by Savarkar and his ideology to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi, is also a fact. Ramesh also stressed that the differences between the Congress and Sena on the issue would have no bearing on the MVA alliance. Ramesh also had a long chat with Raut on the issue.Raut said that Rahul’s Yatra was getting a good response all over the country, and raising important issues like unemployment and farmers’ problems. “There was no reason to raise the issue of Veer Savarkar.”Ramesh’s denial notwithstanding, the aggressive stand on Savarkar given that the BJP reaction was not surprising is also being seen as part of a Congress strategy to assert itself in the alliance where it is largely seen as the third wheel.While Rahul congratulated the state committee for “successfully organising” the Yatra and said the Congress is in the DNA of Maharashtra, especially of Vidarbha, he is believed to have told the state leadership that it faces the hard work of “continuing the ideological battle he had kicked off”. In the battle of ideologies, the Congress stands firmly opposed to Savarkar, he reportedly said.A former minister of the Congress said they expect the issue to stay hot for some time now, leaving the party to shed its caution on it. “Going on the defensive would mean letting Rahul down,” he said.Generally, given the sensitivities involved, the Maharashtra Congress is chary about taking on the right-wing on cultural issues. For example, it doesn’t raise the issue of Savarkar’s mercy petitions in the state. Even when the Devendra Fadnavis government had honoured the late Babasaheb Purandare with the Maharashtra Bhushan, it was the NCP that had objected, not the Congress. Purandare’s version of the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is widely contested by many Bahujan groups.NCP chief Sharad Pawar has often used cultural symbolism to push an anti-Hindutva line, especially wearing a Mahatma Phule-type turban in Pune instead of a Peshwa-type one. Several NCP leaders had criticised the vandalism of Pune’s Bhandarkar Institute over writings on Shivaji by author James Lane, and again when a bust of Dadoji Kondadev, reputed to have been Shivaji’s guru, was removed from Lal Mahal in Pune. The protesters in both cases were hardline Maratha groups.Amidst the wariness in Congress ranks, there are some who are happy. “The Congress has been reduced to being a third, minion partner in the MVA, with no aggressive voice, dragged behind the other two. It will be a test of the state leadership to maintain the momentum with similar aggression, while defending Rahul, in the coming days,” a state Congress leader said.
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader and MP Sanjay Raut said on Friday that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s recent comments against Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar could cause rifts in the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance in Maharashtra.“Coming to Maharashtra, making allegations against Savarkar and defaming him is not acceptable to Maharashtra as well as Shiv Sena. Maharashtra Congress leaders would also not support it. There was, in fact, no need to make this statement in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The yatra was undertaken with the intention of raising the issues related to the rising dictatorial attitude in the country, issues of unemployment, inflation and atrocities on women in the country. The yatra is drawing huge responses, especially in Maharashtra. So, at this point of time, there was no need to bring the issue of Savarkar. Because of this, there is a possibility of rifts in the Maha Vikas Aghadi,” Raut said.At an event earlier this week in Washim district during the Maharashtra leg of the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul had taken aim at the BJP and RSS saying that they idolise Savarkar.“Despite the British offering him land, Birsa Munda refused to bow. He chose death. We, the Congress, consider him our idol. For the BJP and RSS, Savarkar ji, who wrote mercy petitions to the British and accepted pension, is an idol,” he had said.The Udhhav Thackeray-led Sena, a Congress ally, publicly expressed its displeasure at the comment, with Uddhav saying that Rahul’s statement “is wrong”.Rahul, however, reiterated his criticism of Savarkar on Thursday.On Friday, Raut said the comments would cause bitterness in the MVA.“The MVA will not collapse, but it will certainly cause bitterness… There will be cracks in our alliance, which is not a good sign,” Raut said on Friday.Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that both his party and the Udhhav-led Sena had agreed to disagree on Savarkar.“I spoke to Sanjay Raut today (Friday). We agree to disagree. He refuted the impression that it (Rahul’s comments) would weaken the Maha Vikas Aghadi. It won’t affect the MVA,” Ramesh said.Raut confirmed having received a call from Ramesh on the Savarkar issue, and while he said he would not reveal details about the conversation, he said, “The Congress did damage control as Rahul Gandhi avoided mentioning Savarkar in his speech in Buldhana today.”“I told Jairam Ramesh that Rahul Gandhi should avoid mentioning the Savarkar issue again and again, and instead, he should focus hard on the issues that he is raising… Repeatedly raising the Savarkar issue will lead him nowhere. When his yatra was getting a good response, there was no need to create a controversy… We don’t want any bitterness in MVA alliance,” Raut said.On Thursday, Uddhav said he did not agree with Rahul’s comments.“The statement was wrong. I do not agree with what Rahul said. We have immense love and respect for Savarkar,” he had said in Mumbai on Thursday.Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis also criticised Rahul, saying his comments against Savarkar were an attention-seeking exercise.“He should speak within the legal framework. If he violates that, we will have to take action,” Fadnavis said, adding that Rahul had hurt the feelings of Maharashtra.Ramesh said the Congress was aware of “threats” to Rahul’s security following the comments on Savarakar.“His grandmother and father have been victims of violence, and we are aware of the threat to him. There will be no compromise on the security of Rahul Gandhi,” he said.Arguing that historical facts cannot be changed, Ramesh said that Savarkar was among those who introduced the two-nation theory and that the RSS opposed the 1942 Quit India movement.“This history needs to be discussed with an unbiased mind. Not on social media and WhatsApp,” he said.— With input from Manoj More in Pune
MUMBAI: Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut Friday warned of a rift in the MVA due to Rahul Gandhi's comments against Vinayak Savarkar that he wrote mercy petitions to the British. While Raut complimented Rahul for the response he was drawing in the state through the Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said there was no need for the Congress leader to come to Maharashtra and speak ill of Savarkar. Raut said his comments were not acceptable to the Sena and had embarrassed his own partymen. "There can be a daraar (rift) in MVA because of his (Rahul's) statements...because for us Veer Savarkar is a respected and venerated figure. Veer Savarkar is respected by a large section in Maharashtra and the country," Raut said. His comments are seen as significant as the Sena, along with Congress and NCP, constituted the MVA, which was in office for 2.5 years in the state. Earlier this week, Uddhav's son Aaditya took part in Rahul's Yatra. Rahul must look at future and create history, not rake up history, says RautWarning that his party won’t tolerate comments against Vinayak Savarkar, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi must look at the future and not past. On Tuesday, comparing the martyrdom of tribal leader Birsa Munda with Savarkar, Rahul said the latter, who is an icon of the BJP and RSS, wrote letters and mercy petitions to the British, even offering to work with them. He said the Congress idolised Munda, who preferred death to inducements offered by the British. “The Shiv Sena won’t tolerate such remarks against Savarkar or his defamation. The issue ends there. Rahul Gandhi got the maximum response for his Yatra in Maharashtra and is getting good response all over the country. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is about inflation, unemployment and threat to democracy, crime against women and how the country is heading towards dictatorship. So there was no need to bring up the issue of Veer Savarkar. Not just the Shiv Sena, but Maharashtra Congress leaders are also embarrassed. Rahul Gandhi must look at the future and create history and not rake up history,” Raut said. Targetting BJP, Raut said, “Veer Savarkar wasn’t the deity of the RSS and BJP ever. They are taking this up for politics... We have been demanding Bharat Ratna for him, but is their love for Savarkar fake? Why is the BJP not giving him Bharat Ratna? The Shiv Sena and its founder Balasaheb Thackeray always upheld the ideals of Veer Savarkar. Veer Savarkar was never the idol for the BJP and RSS, they are using his name for politics.”
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, which triggered a controversy in Maharashtra, have raised questions on the fate of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in the state, with the Shiv Sena reiterating its displeasure on his statement.“What Rahul Gandhi said about Veer Savarkar will cause cracks in the MVA alliance,” Shiv Sena (Uddav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said at a press conference Friday. Asked whether this means that the MVA would collapse, Raut said, “The MVA would not collapse. It would certainly cause bitterness… there will be cracks in our alliance which is not a good sign.”At a function in memory of tribal leader Birsa Munda in Washim on Tuesday, Rahul had said, “Despite the British offering him land, (Birsa Munda) refused to bow down; he chose death. We, the Congress party, consider him our idol. For the BJP and RSS, Savarkarji, who wrote mercy petitions to the British and accepted pension, is an idol.”Raut said Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra has drawn a huge response in Maharashtra and therefore at this juncture, there was no need for him to raise the Savarkar issue and create a controversy. “Compared to other parts of the country, in Maharashtra Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra has drawn an overwhelming response. His yatra is aimed at ending the hatemongering that is going on in the country and raising voice against rising inflation and unemployment. He has rightly raised these issues… When he is doing a good job and stirring the nation’s conscience, where was the need for him to raise Savarkar’s issue? He should have ignored it and stayed focused on the good job that he is doing,” he pointed out.Reiterating that the Sena completely disagrees with Gandhi on the issue, Raut said, “Rahul Gandhi has made his point clear for the umpteenth time. He has in the past repeatedly said that Savarkar had sought mercy from the British… When he has already publicly made this point at his rallies and press conferences, where is the need for him to go on repeating the same? When he is talking of ending the hate mongering in the country, why is he targetting Savarkar again and again?”Raut said Savarkar is a hero for the Shiv Sena (UBT) and they will continue to idolise him. “Our party chief Uddhav Thackeray made it clear yesterday that we love, admire and have immense faith in Savarkar. We, therefore, do not agree with Rahul Gandhi’s views,” he said.In this context, Raut said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has also raised some relevant questions. “Those who did not participate in the freedom struggle are suddenly showing admiration for Savarkar. It is clear that the BJP is looking for political gains from Savakar’s name,” he said.Raut then once again raised the issue of awarding the Bharat Ratna to Savarkar. “Why is the BJP shying away from awarding the Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar? We have been for years demanding that Savarkar should be bestowed with the Bharat Ratna but the BJP government, despite being in power for eight years, refuses to take any decision,” he said.Meanwhile, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which will stage a protest during Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra on Friday, reminded him that his grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had once praised Savarkar. “On Savarkar’s death, Indira Gandhi had herself said that it was a great loss to the nation… If his grandmother had praised Savarkar, then why is he insulting the revolutionary leader,” MNS leader Nitin Sardesai sought to know.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the BJP of spreading violence, hatred and terror in the country.Rahul, who has witnessed violent deaths of his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi, said that anyone who has suffered violence in life will never feel fear and hatred in his heart.He was addressing a mammoth rally at Shegaon of Vidarbha’s Buldhana district on the 72nd day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.“Fear, violence, hate divides but love unites everything. The aim of Bharat Jodo Yatra is not to achieve ‘Mann ki Baat’. Violence and hatred will never benefit the country. Anyone who has suffered violence in his life will never feel fear and hatred in his heart. All those who talk about violence have never faced it ever,” he said.“This journey was started against this terror, hatred and violence. The purpose of this yatra is to understand your voice and sorrows,’’ Rahul added.He was speaking in the background of threats issued to the yatra by MNS and BJP after he commented against Hindutva ideology V D Sawarkar in regard to his mercy petition to the British. Rahul, however, did not mention the controversy in his speech.The Congress MP said that he has been meeting farmers and youth, who are questioning the government. “Farmers do not get money even after paying insurance money. The Modi government is doing injustice to the farmers. There is no price for farmers’ goods. Farmers are not getting compensation.’’Rahul said that he will never let India become a country where farmers and youth are poor while a few individuals control all the wealth. He alleged that loans of thousands of crores of some industrialists are waived and two or three industrialists are sinking the country’s debt.Remembering Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Rahul said he was the voice of Maharashtra. “He was shown the path by his mother Rashtramata Jijau. We are following his work.”.“This land belongs to Chhatrapati Shivaji, Shahu, Phule and Ambedkar and none of them worked on dividing people,” he further said.
Taking a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday said India is already united under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He added that Gandhi’s march is not to unite India but those opposing Modi.In an apparent reference to Gandhi, Fadnavis said, “Yuvraj’s yatra has reached Maharashtra. It is not a Bharat Jodo yatra, it is a yatra for uniting the Opposition parties, uniting Modiji’s opposers (virodhi) because they have understood their time is over.”Reacting to Gandhi’s comments on VD Savarkar in Maharashtra, Fadnavis added, “These are such people who do not believe in Savarkar, Sardar Patel or Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.”Blaming the Congress for the India-Pakistan partition, he said, “I want to say to Rahul ji that if you really want to unite Bharat, then take this yatra from Somnath to Vishwanath. If you want to really unite Bharat, then join your hearts with those of our Hindu brothers who had to leave Kashmir. Bharat is already united and for the first time the entire country is standing behind one person—Narendrabhai Modiji.”The BJP star campaigner, who was campaigning for the party’s Gautambhai Chauhan at Talaja in Bhavnagar, also highlighted national issues such as border security, the Russia-Ukraine war and Covid vaccination.A BJP stronghold since 2002, the Talaja seat was, however, won by Congress’s Kanu Baraiya in 2017.Brushing off the anti-incumbency factor, Fadnavis expressed confidence that Gujarat will yet again go with PM Modi.” Further targeting Congress, he said, “Gujarat’s people are hoshiyar (smart). When the country became independent, immediately Mahatma Gandhi had said that Congress’s work is over, it should be dissolved. But people did not understand. The Congress continued along with its corruption. Gujarat’s people remembered what Gandhiji had said and since 27 years, they have obliterated Congress’ presence…”Later in the day, Fadnavis also campaigned for Sangita Patil in Surat’s Limbayat—dominated by the Maharashtrian community.Taking on Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Fadnavis said in Limbayat, “Everybody’s eyes are on Gujarat. Some Delhi people have also come here to spread falsehood. After the election, they will return to Delhi. They are in the habit of spreading falsehood and if a competition of spreading falsehood is organised, AAP will win the gold medal in it.”He reminded that AAP had tried their best in Goa, too, but failed. “In Punjab, people had given them a chance and now they have realised the mistake they have made. They (AAP) are shaking hands with the Khalistan people who want to damage our country,” he said.
Fresh controversy has erupted in Pune after a demeaning poster emerged on the memorial of Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar near Sarasbaug in Pune, in the early hours of Friday.The poster has the names of Rohan Patil and Baliram Dole, who are office bearers of the Congress party’s youth wing in Maharashtra, and it came up outside the Savarkar memorial near Deccan. The local BJP unit had planned a protest against Rahul Gandhi at Karve Road, but after finding the poster near the Savarkar memorial they staged the protest outside the Congress Bhavan in Shivajinagar.Jitendra Wagh, a citizen who removed the poster, said, “I saw a news on the television around 8 am about this objectionable poster on V D Savarkar Smarak near Sarasbaug. I went there immediately and removed it. Savarkar was a great freedom fighter. Action should be taken against those who have put up this poster.”BJP leader from Pune city Deepak Nagpure filed a complaint at the Swargate police station demanding action against those who put up the objectionable poster. “VD Savarkar is a national hero and should be respected for his heroics, sacrifices during the freedom struggle and social work against casteism. We will not tolerate an insult of him,” Nagpure said.Members of the youth wing of the Pune city unit of the BJP, led by youth wing chief Raghvendra Mankar, staged a protest Friday and allegedly damaged a poster of the Congress leader on the premises.Later, city BJP workers led by Jagdish Mulick poured milk on the statue of Savarkar at the memorial and raised slogans against the Congress.“The city Congress condemns the behaviour of BJP leaders. It is a cowardly act of the BJP to damage the poster of Rahul Gandhi on the Congress Bhavan premises,” party leader Ramesh Iyer said. Incidentally, the entire Pune unit of the Congress is in Buldhana to participate in and make arrangements for Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in the district.Rahul Gandhi, whose Bharat Jodo Yatra is currently passing through Maharashtra, on Thursday held a press conference at Wadegaon in Akola district, where he claimed that Savarkar helped the British rulers and wrote a mercy petition to them out of fear, thereby betraying Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of the freedom struggle.Two days prior to that, Gandhi addressed a rally in Washim district where he referred to Savarkar as a symbol of the BJP and the RSS. “He was jailed in Andaman for two-three years. He started writing mercy petitions,” the Congress MP had said there.
K Kavitha said BJP MP Dharmapuri Arvind must stop spreading liesHyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's (KCR) daughter and TRS MLC K Kavitha today said some "friends of BJP" had approached her to join the party, but she refused the "offer".Speaking at a press conference, she hit out at Nizamabad BJP MP Dharmapuri Arvind, refuting his reported comments that Ms Kavitha had made a phone call to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge."I am a decent politician. I want to remain in this country, in politics for a very long time. I am not going to name anybody. There have been proposals that were brought to me and friends of BJP, friendly organisations of BJP, asking me to join the party and the proposed model called 'Shinde model'," Ms Kavitha said, replying to a query on media reports suggesting that she was approached by the BJP to join the party.The 'Shinde model' apparently refers to the recent change in government in Maharashtra where the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition fell after a faction of the Shiv Sena led by its leader Eknath Shinde withdrew support and joined hands with the BJP. Mr Shinde is now the Maharashtra Chief Minister.Ms Kavitha further said that the people of Telangana do not "cheat and betray" their own parties and their leaders."We will become leaders on our own strength, not through the backdoor. I have rejected their proposal very politely ... because my heart is in a party where my leader is honourable KCR garu," she said.Replying to a question on her name being dragged by BJP leaders, the TRS leader said if central probe agencies come, she can prove they are wrong.Coming down heavily on Mr Arvind, the MLC said if the BJP leader does not stop spreading lies, then people will teach him a lesson and there will be severe consequences.Ms Kavitha said that in her political career, she has never criticised anyone.Asking the BJP MP to stop spreading false propaganda against her, Ms Kavitha said if he does not do so, he will be "hit with chappals" in Nizamabad.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMeanwhile, reacting to attacks on his Banjara Hills residence by some TRS workers today, Mr Arvind said that some women staff members at his residence were attacked and his mother was threatened.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayShraddha Walkar Murder Case: 10 Key Details
HYDERABAD: Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter and TRS MLC K Kavitha on Friday said some friends of BJP have approached her to join the party, but she refused the "offer". Speaking at a press conference, she hit out at Nizamabad BJP Lok Sabha member Dharmapuri Arvind refuting his reported comments that Kavitha had made a phone call to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. "I am a decent politician. I want to remain in this country in politics for a very long time. I am not going to name anybody. There have been proposals that were brought to me and friends of BJP, friendly organisations of BJP asking me to join the party and the proposed model called 'Shinde model'," Kavitha said replying to a query on media reports suggesting that she was approached by BJP inviting her into the party. The 'Shinde model' apparently refers to the recent change in government in neighbouring Maharashtra where the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition fell after a faction of the Shiv Sena led by its leader Eknath Shinde withdrew support and joined hands with the BJP. Shinde is now the Maharashtra Chief Minister. Kavitha further said Telangana people do not "cheat and betray" their own parties and their own leaders. "We will become leaders on our own strength, not by backdoor. I have rejected their proposal very politely... the proposals that were brought to me, I have categorically rejected them because my heart is in a party where my leader is honourable KCR garu," she said. Replying to a question on her name being dragged by BJP leaders, the TRS leader said if central probe agencies come, she can prove they are wrong. Coming down heavily on Arvind, the MLC said if the BJP leader does not stop spreading lies, then people will teach him a lesson and there would be severe consequences. Kavitha said that in her political career, she has never criticised anyone personally and it always has been so on several issues. Asking the MP to stop spewing false propaganda against her, Kavitha said if he does not do so, he will be "hit with chappals" in Nizamabad. Meanwhile, TV visuals suggested that some unknown persons ransacked the residence of BJP MP Dharmapuri Arvind in the city. Reacting to the incident, Arvind alleged that some women staff in his residence was attacked and his mother also threatened by the persons.
The alliance of the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress in Gujarat could soon be facing rough weather, even though their alliance remains strong in neighbouring Maharashtra, where they were in power until recently as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, with the undivided Shiv Sena as the third axis.This year, they had filed nominations in just three seats—Umreth, Naroda and Devgadh Baria, their lowest in 20 years—before their candidate from the Naroda Assembly seat in Ahmedabad city, Nikulsingh Tomar, withdrew on Thursday, citing technicalities. This is the seat that covers the neighbourhoods of Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam, where more than 96 Muslims were killed in the 2002 riots, and in which the BJP has fielded Payal Kukrani, the daughter of a convict in the Naroda Patiya case.Tomar, a local businessman, told The Indian Express, “I’m already a corporator in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on a Congress ticket. If I had to fight the Assembly elections as a NCP candidate, I’d have to resign as a corporator.”With all three seats going to polls in the second phase on December 5, the NCP said it has fielded a fresh candidate, Meghraj Dodwani, in place of Tomar.The NCP’s problems began after it went public about its alliance with the Congress a week ago. On November 16, Gujarat spokesperson Reshma Patel quit the NCP to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Patel had been a close aide of Hardik Patel during the 2016 Patidar agitation, and is known for her oratory skills.A day before that, the party refused to back the candidature of its sitting Porbandar MLA and strongman Kandal Jadeja, its lone MLA in the current Assembly, who has been winning the Kutiyana seat since 2012. Jadeja had filed his nomination for the seat as an NCP candidate on November 5. But the same day, the NCP announced its seat-sharing alliance with the Congress, accepting only three of 182 seats, its lowest in two decades.Jadeja proceeded to quit the NCP and filed his nomination as a candidate of the Samajwadi Party, as well as an Independent. He’s probably keeping his options open till the end. Jadeja is the son of the late gangster Santokben, popularly known as ‘Godmother’, who once represented the Janata Dal in the Kutiyana seat, before going Independent when the party split.On Reshma Patel, Gujarat NCP president Jayant Patel, alias Jayant Boskey, said, “It is the season for changing parties. Her request to contest from Gondal was denied by the party, so she quit.” Patel, who joined AAP, told The Indian Express that she will fight in the polls only if her new party wants her to.When pointed out that 2022 will see the lowest representation of candidates from the NCP in 20 years, Boskey said, “We do not have any big plans for Gujarat elections. We did not get good, suitable candidates. Also, businessmen don’t want to enter the fray due to the present atmosphere. They are all scared of the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate.” On chances of winning the three seats in which NCP has put candidates, Boskey said, “We will give a good fight. The results will also depend on how individual candidates work.”Boskey, who was one of the 58 NCP candidates who fought the 2017 Assembly polls, has filed his nomination from the Umreth seat in Anand district of central Gujarat. He will be taking on sitting BJP MLA Govind Parmar. In 2017, when 56 NCP nominees had lost their deposits and accounted for just 0.62 per cent of the total votes polled, he had come third, behind the Congress candidate. Kandal Jadeja was the sole victor for the NCP in 2017, after alliance talks between the Congress and the NCP had fallen through.Yet, even when the NCP was fighting on its own in 2017, its supremo, Sharad Pawar, did not take part in the campaign, raising doubts about the party’s intent to expand its footprint in Gujarat. This time, though, Pawar figures in the NCP’s list of 31 star campaigners, which also includes Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, former Union minister Praful Patel and spokesperson Clyde Castro.“Our alliance with the Congress is in place and we are more focused this time,” said Boskey, without clarifying if the NCP will support any candidate outside the alliance. On Thursday, Lavar Gopsing filed his nomination as the NCP candidate from Devgadh Baria. Gopsinh has described himself as a farmer in his affidavit filed with the Election Commission.
MUMBAI: Shiv Sena (UBT) party chief Uddhav Thackeray said he did not agree with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's views on Savarkar but also questioned the BJP for not awarding the Hindutva icon the Bharat Ratna despite being in power for eight years. "We don't agree with what Rahul Gandhi has said. What has been said (by him) is wrong. We have immense love and respect for Savarkar. But not just Congress, to save the freedom for which Savarkar sacrificed, we are all coming together," Thackeray said. On Tuesday, comparing the martyrdom of tribal leader Birsa Munda with Savarkar, Rahul said while the latter, who is an icon of the BJP and RSS, wrote letters and mercy petitions to the British, even offering to work with them, Congress idolised Munda, who preferred death to uphold the cause of the tribals and the country, but refused to be won over by the British and did not give up his self respect despite inducements of land and money. Thackeray's comments are significant as the Sena is a part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) with the Congress and NCP, a coalition which was in power for 2.5 years in the state. Earlier this week, Uddhav's son Aaditya took part in Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra. "I'm saying it very clearly and strongly, we have immense love and respect for Swatantrayaveer Savarkar. This can't be wiped off no matter how hard people try. But those who kept away from the freedom struggle and have no connection to it, followers of such organisations claiming to love Savarkar is laughable. Where were they then? The RSS existed, but they were away from the freedom struggle, so they don't have any right to speak on Savarkar and they must not try too," Thackeray said. He was speaking at an event to mark the death anniversary of Sena founder late Bal Thackeray. "First, they must ask what is their parent organization's contribution to the freedom struggle, and then talk to us...the PM has the right to give Bharat Ratna, so why haven't you given the Bharat Ratna to Savarkar in eight years?," Thackeray said.
MUMBAI: In a dig at the former MVA government at a function held to sign MoUs to generate 1.2 lakh jobs, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, "We are not the kind of people who sign MoUs and forget about them. We will ensure that these are followed up and any problems are resolved." After the state government lost the Vedanta-Foxconn project to Gujarat, the Shinde government claimed that the MVA had not held crucial meetings of the high-powered committee in the state to offer incentives to the project. At the event, which was attended by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Governor B S Koshyari and skill development minister Mangalprabhat Lodha. The MoUs were signed between industries, placement agencies and the state's skill development commissionerate. "The MoUs have been signed after a screening process and genuine people have come forward," said Fadnavis. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the Centre will provide 10 lakh jobs. In Maharashtra, we have begun recruitment for 75,000 government jobs. But we will also encourage job creation in the private sector," said Fadnavis.
Following the Supreme Court order, Union Minister and BJP leader Narayan Rane on Thursday started demolishing the unauthorised portions of his eight-storey Adhish bungalow at Juhu.The move came two months after the SC dismissed his plea, through which Rane had challenged the Bombay High Court, after it directed the BMC to raze the unauthorised portions of his bungalow citing violations in coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and floor space index (FSI) norms.Following this, Rane had approached the SC, seeking regularisation of the unauthorised portions, which was declined. He was given three months, till December 26, to carry out modifications.The building was on Thursday found covered with green-coloured shade nets, implying start of construction work. When contacted, Rane said, “The SC has given us a timeline till December end and we are on schedule and intend to finish the works before the deadline gets over.”Nitesh Rane, the son of the minister and a BJP MLA from Maharashtra, said his family is staying in the same bungalow. “The HC didn’t ask us to demolish the building. It has proposed certain modifications, which we are implementing. The family is staying in the same bungalow and we have covered the building as a precautionary measure,” Nitesh told The Indian Express.Civic officials said that now that the Ranes are demolishing the building by themselves, they don’t have a direct role in the process till the modifications are completed. “The court had directed them to carry out demolition work by December end and they are following the directives. After the work is complete, we will carry out an inspection and submit a compliance report to the HC by attaching photographs of the modifications along with measurements of the property. Besides, if they seek any support from BMC, we will extend it,” said an official.On February 18, a team of BMC officials from the K West ward had inspected the bungalow, a day after serving Rane a notice on inspecting the bungalow. The action came after a RTI activist, Santosh Daundkar, filed a complaint pointing out illegalities in the bungalow. Daundkar alleged that the bungalow was constructed within 50 m from the sea, which violated CRZ rules. He added that the height of the building was increased to eight floors from four floors without calculating fresh FSI. “The portions that are likely to be razed are parts of balcony, terrace garden, flower beds and ducts,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said there was a wrong perception being created that the Congress was not effectively doing its job as the opposition and was not standing up to the BJP. "Whatever perception is there, it's not true. I have been meeting people on the ground, the farmers, youths and the message that we are getting is different. I should not say this, but the opposition has no control over the press, the BJP controls the press. They control the institutional structure, they have put the judiciary under pressure. On the ground, the situation is different."He said he was not perturbed about Congress leaders quitting and joining the BJP. "I was just told by a Shiv Sena MLA (Uddhav group) of how he was offered '50 cr to join the Shinde camp but he didn't go. So, in a way, this is a cleanup of the opposition. All the corrupt people who are being sold for '10 crore, '50 crore are the ones going to the BJP. It's good that they are going, we don't have a shortage of good people in the county, they will come with us," he said. On demands for stopping his Yatra in Maharashtra, Rahul dared the state government to do so. "If someone has an opinion, he should have the freedom to express it. If the government feels the Yatra is a threat, then it should try to stop us."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reiterating on Thursday that Vinayak Damador Savarkar was an “agent of the English” government has cranked up the heat on the Shiv Sena (Uddhav group), as the latter has always revered the Hindutva ideologue. The BJP, Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde group) and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have all slammed Rahul Gandhi’s comments wherein Rahul called Savarkar “a BJP agent” and had questioned the silence of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav group) in not responding to Rahul’s comments. The BJP and the Shinde group have tried to portray the Uddhav group as a stooge of the Congress. The Shinde group has begun protesting against Gandhi’s comments with the MNS planning the same.Savarkar’s grandson, Ranjit Savarkar, has filed a police complaint against Gandhi for making comments on Savarkar and has demanded his arrest. The Sena had always held Savarkar in high regards and had, in the past, threatened to beat Congress senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar with slippers if he ever came to Maharashtra after he criticised Savarkar.On Thursday, Rahul showed a letter to claim that Savarkar was working with the British. He read out a line from one of the letters written by Savarkar to the British.“Savarkar in a letter to the Britishers then has written, “Sir, I beg to remain your most obedient servant’. This is not a letter written by me but by Savarkar. I am clear that Savarkar helped the English. Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Pandit Nehru all were in jail but none of them wrote such a letter. Savarkar wrote such a letter as he was afraid; by signing such a letter he has betrayed India,” Rahul said.He added, “By signing this letter, Savarkar has told all of India’s tall leaders like Gandhi and Patel that you are doing wrong and you too should sign such a letter.Rahul’s comments have led to a huge embarrassment for the Uddhav group. “What Rahul Gandhi has said about Savarkar is wrong, we don’t agree with him,” Uddhav said. He added, “to retain the freedom that Savarkar fought for is the reason that we all (Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP) have come together. The country is again heading towards slavery.”Telling BJP not to criticise the Sena, Uddhav said: “You partnered with the separatist PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. Your parent party RSS had no role to play in the freedom struggle and so you have no right to claim love for any freedom fighter.”The Sena also questioned why the BJP-ruled Centre has still not given a Bharat Ratna to Savarkar.Meanwhile, the BJP and Eknath Shinde group have said the comments show that the Sena has abandoned its Hindutva ideology to ally with the Congress. The Uddhav group is embarrassed because Rahul also said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is an ideological fight between those following the Savarkar ideology and those who follow the Gandhian ideology.BJP has slammed Uddhav for his party’s silence on Savarkar comments. “Uddhav ji has buried the ideology of his late father Balasaheb Thackeray, all this to get power with the Congress, it is shocking to see how the Shiv Sena has reduced its Hindutva ideology,” said Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar.
The Aam Aadmi Party has dismissed as a political gimmick the Maharashtra government’s decision to launch 51 community health clinics, but said that the chief minister and his deputy “were forced to” talk about healthcare was testimony to the success of Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi model.In a statement issued Thursday, AAP Mumbai chief Preeti Sharma Menon said the BJP-Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena government lacked the political will to deliver on the promise and that the clinics might turn into another avenue for corruption “given the track record” of Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis.“Given the Shiv Sena-BJP’s record over the past 30 years, they are sure to make a complete mess of this project just like what they have done in areas like roads, traffic management, cleanliness etc,” Menon said.Menon said people were aware of the dismal state of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation-run hospitals and clinics, which she said lacked doctors, medicines and infrastructure. “The civic hospitals are dirty and badly maintained and no one has forgotten about the death of a patient due to rat bites in the Rajawadi hospital,” she said.Menon said the new clinics would never be able to duplicate the AAP model, “which is working so well in Delhi and Punjab”. “The Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi model of development has universal, free quality healthcare as its cornerstone. The Mohalla Clinics of Delhi have played a pivotal role in reducing congestion in tertiary hospitals while providing excellent state-of-the-art infrastructure for primary healthcare,” she said.Such initiatives work only when the intentions are good and there is a political will, Menon said, adding that the Sena-BJP combination was “focused on corruption and power grab”.“This is another political gimmick. That the AAP has forced politicians to work towards delivering healthcare is testament to the far-reaching effects of our Delhi Model and the growth of a movement for clean politics and efficient public-service delivery,” she said.Menon also said people would give the AAP an opportunity in the coming elections to prove that a clean and honest government can deliver.For its part, the ruling BJP said that every policy decision taken by the government had public welfare in mind.“The Shinde-Fadnavis government’s decision to launch 51 health clinics will be a role model for other states,” BJP state chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said. “When Fadnavis was the chief minister (2014 to 2019), he gave top priority to the rural and urban health sectors.”In its campaign for the upcoming BMC polls, the BJP is talking about the “corruption by Sena leaders” in Covid centres as well as the party’s failure to maintain well the hospitals of the civic body that it ruled.
"We have taken revenge for the betrayal," Devendra Fadnavis had said. (File)Mumbai: Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads a faction of the Shiv Sena, on Thursday hit back at senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, saying the top leadership of the latter's party took revenge on him by demoting him as the deputy chief minister.The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief made the remark while addressing a press conference in Mumbai.Responding to a question on Devendra Fadnavis' recent statement that he took revenge on Uddhav Thackeray for "betraying" him, he said, "That is why Delhi felt that the chief minister should be changed and he (Fadnavis) be made deputy chief minister. They also took this revenge."The Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had contested the 2019 state Assembly polls in alliance, but parted ways after the results following differences over sharing the chief minister's post. The Thackeray-led party went on to join hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.However, the MVA dispensation collapsed in June this year after Eknath Shinde and 39 other MLAs rebelled against the Shiv Sena leadership. Eknath Shinde became the chief minister with Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as his deputy. Devendra Fadnavis was the state chief minister during the BJP-Sena government from 2014 to 2019.Earlier this month, Devendra Fadnavis said during an event that the BJP had never promised the chief minister's post for half the term to the Shiv Sena as claimed by Thackeray.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"If Eknath Shinde wanted to leave Shiv Sena because of the way he was treated by Uddhav Thackeray and Aaditya Thackeray, we were not going to ask him to go back. We were going to welcome him and support him. We have taken revenge for the betrayal," Devendra Fadnavis had said.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayVideo: Maharashtra Girl Jumps Out Of Auto To Escape Harassment
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis‘s admission that he engineered the split in the Shiv Sena earlier this year has evoked mixed reactions from coalition partner, the Eknath Shinde-led Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, which had broken away from the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena.While a section of leaders in the Shinde faction have been expressing their uneasiness over Fadnavis’s statement, others have been more accommodating of the deputy CM’s remark.Over the past 10 days, Fadnavis has been openly claiming that he took revenge on Thackeray for “betraying” him and the BJP in 2019, when the undivided Sena broke its alliance with the BJP and joined the NCP and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). Thackeray had gone on to become chief minister.Fadnavis’s “revenge” remarks – his second this month – have put the Shinde faction in an uncomfortable position since both the CM and his MLAs have been trying to appropriate the Sena legacy and justify their rebellion by claiming that they were adhering to the Hindutva ideology and following in the footsteps of the late Sena founder Bal Thackeray.“The Shinde faction has been saying that their rebellion was aimed at ushering in a revolution, and justifying it by saying that the Sena was in an ‘unnatural alliance’ with the NCP and the Congress, while the BJP was their ‘natural’ alliance partner. Fadnavis’s remark now undermines their position,” said a political analyst.In the four months since the Shinde-Fadnavis government took over, there have been a few instances of friction between the alliance partners over issues ranging from transfer of senior police officers to the share of Cabinet seats, including the induction of Shinde group MLA Sanjay Rathod, who had earlier been targeted by the BJP over the suicide of a girl in his constituency.The Shinde faction MLAs were also upset over comments made by state BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule — that Fadnavis was going to be the next CM, and by state Cabinet minister Chandrakant Patil that they accepted Fadnavis as the current deputy CM (instead of the CM) “with a heavy heart”.While Shinde Sena spokesperson Sheetal Mhatre and former Thane Mayor and Shinde confidant Naresh Mhaske are avoiding reactions on the issue, another party spokesperson, former Pune MLA Vijay Shivtare, and leader Kiran Pawaskar have gone public, expressing their agreement with Fadnavis’s remarks.“We don’t have to say anything on what Fadnavis feels. He said what he thinks about it (the Shiv Sena rebellion), but for us, it was a revolt, as our leader CM Shinde has repeatedly said,” Mhatre said.Pawaskar, however, supported Fadnavis, saying everyone takes revenge in politics, and that one needs guts to openly speak about it. “The BJP and Shiv Sena alliance was forged by Bal Thackeray, Pramod Mahajan, Lal Krishna Advani and Atal Bihari Vajapayee. It has a history. Seats were distributed and polls contested based on this alliance, and using the photo and name of our alliance partner’s leader (Modi). But after the election, you [Uddhav] broke the alliance. We welcome his [Fadnavis’s] plainspeak. He is right that it was a revenge, and that he has taken it. Others don’t want to accept that it was revenge,” Pawaskar said.Shivtare said, “The Sena and the BJP contested the elections together. By breaking the alliance after winning, the Sena betrayed voters and their mandate to join hands with the NCP and the Congress, against whom we fought and won. This was betrayal, not only with the BJP and Shiv Sainiks, but also with the voters of Maharashtra. So revenge was the need of the hour, and we all came together to execute it. So I agree with what Fadnavis said.”The issue broke out after Fadnavis repeatedly explained his ‘philosophy of badla’ in interviews to TV channels, saying, “If those who enjoyed power with you, those who were with you ’round the clock, and those who were elected along with you, directly stab you in the back, then to stay alive in politics, you need to give it back to them. Otherwise, you cannot survive in politics. In politics, you should remain good. But if someone is taking advantage of you for being good, and betraying you, such people should be shown their place. I have shown him [Uddhav] his place. And I’m proud of myself. If you betray me, I will take revenge,” adding, “We were waiting for the opportunity, and when Shinde and other MLAs wanted to come out [of the MVA], we supported them.”On what he felt about Uddhav Thackeray, Fadnavis said, “He (Uddhav) has shot himself in the foot. I have no clue why he joined hands with the Congress and the NCP. I also don’t know why he was so smitten by the CM’s post. Sometimes in politics, you have to join hands with a different set of people, depending on the situation. But when you join hands with those of a completely different ideology, and start speaking in their voice, by forgetting your own ideology, you can’t sustain for long.”“The biggest problem with their alliance [MVA] was that it was not being run by the Sena ideology, but rather by suppressing it. The alliance was working in the interest of the Congress and the NCP, and their ideology. No one approved of this,” he added.
From BJP leaders to Sharad Pawar and the Thackerays, leaders across the political spectrum on Thursday paid tribute to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray on his death anniversary.Former CM Uddhav Thackeray visited his father’s memorial in Mumbai along with his son and former state minister Aaditya, wife Rashmi, and other senior leaders of the Sena faction that he heads. On Wednesday night, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 39 other MLAs of his Sena group visited the memorial.Taking to Twitter, Aaditya said, “Salute to Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray on his memorial day! My promise to you on your memorial day, every breath is for the country, Maharashtra, Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks!”Saying that “Balasaheb Thackeray’s pen, voice and brush had the power to critically comment on the political and social situation”, NCP chief Sharad Pawar tweeted in Marathi, “The Shiv Sena chief who awakens Marathi identity among the people and takes the role of struggle for the welfare of Marathi people. Greetings to Balasaheb Thackeray on his memorial day!”बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांच्या लेखणीत, वाणीत आणि कुंचल्यात राजकीय आणि सामाजिक परिस्थितीवर परखडपणे भाष्य करण्याचे सामर्थ्य होते. जनमानसांमध्ये मराठी अस्मिता जागवणारे, मराठी माणसांच्या हितासाठी संघर्षाची भूमिका घेणारे शिवसेनाप्रमुख स्व. बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांना स्मृति दिनी विनम्र अभिवादन! pic.twitter.com/6hhT6zmtKh— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) November 17, 2022https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsState Congress president Nana Patole said, “Greetings to excellent cartoonist, skilful politician, great orator, Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray on his death anniversary.”Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said, “Sir, your thoughts and memories are always in our hearts.”Tweeting in Marathi, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “Our heartland, the source of inspiration, the emperor of the Hindu heart, Venerable Shiv Sena Pramukh himself. Tributes to Balasaheb Thackeray on his memorial day.”हिंदूहृदयसम्राट शिवसेनाप्रमुख वंदनीय बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांचे विचार सदैव मार्गदर्शन करीत राहतील…#HinduHrudaySamrat #BalasahebThackeray pic.twitter.com/HxCERhfrVu— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) November 17, 2022https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsHe added: “The thoughts of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray, the emperor of Hindu hearts, will always guide.”Remembering Thackeray, Union Minister Prahlad Joshi said, “He lived by the values and principles he believed in and inspired millions of people to follow in his footsteps. He will always be an inspiration to us. My pranam to him.”Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said, “Humble tributes to Shiv Sena founder and skilled politician Bal Thackeray on his death anniversary.” Other BJP leaders such also wished him using the hashtag “Hindu Hriday Samrat (The ruler of the Hindu hearts)”.
MUMBAI: To avoid a confrontation with Shiv Sena (UBT), CM Eknath Shinde, along with leaders of his faction, visited Shivaji Park's Bal Thackeray memorial and paid homage to the late Sena founder on Wednesday night, a day before the Sena founder's death anniversary on November 17. Uddhav Thackeray and his faction will pay homage to the late Sena founder on Thursday. Minutes after CM Shinde and party members left, Uddhav faction workers washed the area with "gomutra" (cow urine) to "purify" the memorial. They also changed the garlands laid there by Shinde and his faction leaders and chanted slogans saying they were the real Shiv Sena. Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut took a dig at the Shinde faction, saying Balasaheb Thackeray belonged to the entire country. "Just put the dagger in your hand aside and then go to pay homage. Balasaheb Thackeray is watching what is happening, what is about to happen. It is the history that people who stab daggers behind Balasaheb Thackeray's Shiv Sena have never been happy. Everyone can go to Balasaheb's memorial, but go with a clean heart," Raut said. Hitting back at Raut, Shinde faction spokesperson Naresh Mhaske said Raut should first explain "who stabbed Balasaheb's Hindutva views". "For power, for the chair, who gave up Balasaheb's thoughts? Balasaheb worked hard to sideline the Congress all his life, and Aditya Thackeray is traveling with Rahul Gandhi. Chhagan Bhujbal who gave the most trouble to Balasaheb and tried to put him in police custody is now hobnobbing at Matoshree. They made an alliance with Nawab Malik who was related to Dawood and kept him in their cabinet till the end," Mhaske said. Earlier in the day, CM and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis took review of the construction of the Bal Thackeray Memorial at the Mayor's bungalow near Shivaji Park. CM said more than 50% of the civil work was already complete, and that the first phase of the memorial museum would be ready by March 2023. The Bal Thackeray memorial is being built by the MMDRA at a cost of around Rs 400 crore. DCM Fadnavis also said it wasn't important who was on the Bal Thackeray memorial trust. Fadnavis was reacting to demand from BJP legislator Prasad Lad that the state must take over the memorial museum trust instead of having just members of one family. "We are not interested about who is in committee, but in throwing open the memorial to the public at the earliest," said Fadnavis.
According to Twitter posts, what played out by mistake was the Nepali anthem.New Delhi: A video showing a national anthem blooper during Rahul Gandhi's "Bharat Jodo Yatra" in Maharashtra has triggered criticism and derision from the BJP.In the viral video, the Congress leader asks for the "Rashtra Geet (national song)" to be played out at an event during a pit-stop in Maharashtra, and a different song in a different language plays out.Many have also pointed out that it is the Rashtra Gaan or national anthem that he had asked for (the national song is Vande Mataram).In the video, Rahul Gandhi announces on the mic - "Now the rashtra geet will play". Everyone on stage stands to attention.When an unknown song starts playing, Rahul Gandhi looks surprised and gestures at a Congress leader, who calls out to the person apparently in charge of the music.According to Twitter posts, what was played by mistake was the Nepali anthem.Finally, the national anthem rang out, but someone had chosen the longer, five-stanza version.Thinking the anthem had ended after the first stanza, a leader started shouting "Bharat Mata ki jai" while it was still playing.The song was stopped, and the slogans continued.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comSeveral BJP leaders shared the video, either mocking the former Congress president or accusing him of "insulting the national anthem".A BJP leader in Tamil Nadu, Amar Prasad Reddy, shared the video with the question: "Rahul Gandhi, what is this?" भारत जोड़ने वालों का राष्ट्रगीत? pic.twitter.com/nMUR1KO9iZ— Sunil Deodhar (@Sunil_Deodhar) November 17, 2022Sh. @RahulGandhi, what is this?pic.twitter.com/LAabKCOzqP— Amar Prasad Reddy (@amarprasadreddy) November 16, 2022Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari on September 7, will enter Madhya Pradesh on November 20 as part of a 12-state journey that will end in Jammu and Kashmir. The Congress leader will pause the yatra to campaign in Gujarat, which votes next month for a new government.Featured Video Of The DayDeepika-Ranveer's Airport Style: Classic, Quirky And Everything In Between
CHIEF MINISTER Eknath Shinde on Wednesday met Prakash Ambedkar at ‘Rajgruha’ in Dadar, the residence of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution. The meeting comes amid talks of Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA)’s alliance with the Shiv Sena (UBT) and a possible tie-up with the Maha Vikas Aghadi ahead of the civic polls.The visit also comes days before Ambedkar is set to share the dais with Uddhav Thackeray on November 20 for the relaunch event of late Prabodhankar Thackeray’s (Keshav Thackeray) website. Later, Shinde clarified that the visit was not political but was a courtesy visit during which they discussed the progress in construction work of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial at Indu Mills in Dadar.Speaking about the talks of alliance with Sena and inclusion of VBA in the MVA, Ambedkar said he has had a discussion with some of the MVA partners and he has sought clarity on the VBA’s role but is awaiting a response. “I had a discussion with the MVA partners…since Congress’s Nana Patole has been claiming they would go it alone. I asked if the VBA will be included in it then what would be its role… There has been no response from the MVA so far. If there is no alliance with the MVA, the VBA will contest the polls alone,” Ambedkar said.Ruling out the possibility of allying with the BJP or Shinde’s BSS, Ambedkar said they would not tie up with the BJP or any other party with it, owing to the latter’s ideology. Ambedkar said he has requested the CM to look into the possibility of setting up of an international centre for learning and research at a 14-acre plot at Indu Mill. He said that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had agreed to set up such a centre and even agreed to provide funds for the same. “CM Shinde said he will look into it and has asked minister Deepak Kesarkar to follow it up,” he said.
MUMBAI: Days before Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar will share stage with Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray at the re-launch of a website on 'Prabodhankar' Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, chief minister Eknath Shinde met Prakash Ambedkar at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's home, Rajgruha, in Dadar on Wednesday. Though CM Shinde said that there was no political discussion at the meeting as it was just a courtesy visit, the meeting was seen as significant as it comes amid talks of the VBA's possible tie up with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). While CM Shinde saw Dr Ambedkar's memorabilia and photos kept in the house and discussed the progress in the construction of Dr Ambedkar Memorial at Indu Mills, Prakash told CM Shinde that if it was possible, he should set up an International Center for Learning and Research at Indu Mill's Ambedkar Memorial which is moving up on a 14-acre plot. Commenting on the VBA's tie up with the MVA, Prakash said that some partners of the MVA did have discussions with him. "They had discussions with me. I asked if the MVA itself is going to remain together, and if it does remain together then is there any plan on how to include the VBA in it. I have asked this to them and so far, the MVA hasn't given any response. Nana Patole has said that Congress will fight alone. So we have asked to clarify whether you will stay together as MVA or everyone will talk to us separately," said Prakash, grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and a former Lok Sabha MP. Prakash, however, ruled out any tie up with the BJP or any of the BJP's alliance partners. "Our stand is such that we can't go with the BJP, as we have social differences related to social fabric. So we won't go with BJP or to any of their alliance partners till that is addressed. So unless the MVA takes us together, we have no option but to fight alone. Our options are open," Prakash said. Prakash said that the November 20 Prabodhankar (Thackeray) portal relaunch event was fixed over two months ago and he will be attending it.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ admission that he had taken “revenge” by engineering the split in the Shiv Sena in June has received massive pushback from political rivals who have claimed that such “politics of badla (revenge)” is a “blot” on the land of sants and Chhatrapati Shivaji. This is not the first time that Fadnavis has owned up to his role as the architect of the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government.In an interview to Marathi news channel SAAM TV, Fadnavis said, “If anyone betrays me, I will take revenge. Yes, I have taken revenge.” Explaining his “philosophy of badla”, the BJP leader said, “If those who enjoyed power with you, those who were with you round the clock, and those who were elected along with you, directly stab you in back, then to stay alive in politics, you need to give it back to him. Otherwise, you cannot survive in politics. In politics, you should remain good. But if someone is taking advantage of you for being good to them and betraying you, then such people should be shown their place. I have shown him his place. And I am proud of myself. If you betray me, I will take revenge.”The “betrayal” Fadnavis refers to is the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena’s decision to break its alliance with the BJP and join hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress to form the government after the 2019 Assembly elections. Uddhav has alleged that the decision was taken because the BJP reneged on its promise to share the chief minister’s post with his party.After a press conference in Pune in 2019, Fadnavis told The Indian Express, “I wanted to go to Uddhav’s residence and personally sort out the matter. He refused to even meet me over a cup of tea.”As the decades-old alliance fell apart, the BJP central leadership in Delhi was reportedly upset with Fadnavis. “There was a feeling in the party that instead of Fadnavis, Nitin Gadkari should have been asked to handle the situation. This came as a double blow to Fadnavis. And since then Fadnavis was looking for an opportunity to strike back and prove his political mettle,” said a BJP leader.According to the party insider, splitting the Shiv Sena was Fadnavis’ chance to prove a point to his detractors both within and outside the party. At the India Today Conclave earlier this month, the Deputy CM spoke about what drove him and his party to engineer the split in the Sena. “While in the Opposition, we were looking for an opportunity to take revenge for the way Uddhav Thackeray backstabbed us and for the way the Shiv Sena treated us. We wanted revenge and therefore backed Shinde ji,” he said.The Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut, who praised Fadnavis a few days earlier, said that the politics of revenge had never been a part of “Maharashtra’s culture. ”He went on to say, “In Maharashtra, politics is not played on the sentiment of revenge. If new precedents and traditions are being set up, then this is against the culture of Maharashtra. In politics, a difference of opinion is common but to date, no one has used the word badla (revenge) in Maharashtra politics. By resorting to such politics, Fadnavis has lowered his stature which is unfortunate.”NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase also accused Fadnavis of taking “Maharashtra politics to a new low”. Maharashtra was known as the “land of change” and not the “land of revenge”, he said, adding, “Our party has never indulged in this kind of tactics. We have never tried to finish ofd any party politically. We have always spoken about taking Maharashtra forward and not down. By resorting to ungainly tactics, the BJP and Fadnavis have only exposed themselves.”Tapase said, “We have always spoken about bringing about positive change and never resorted to politics of vindictiveness. The BJP should have adopted democratic ways like defeating the Shiv Sena in the electoral ring but, instead, it chose to bring down the Sena. Politics should be an instrument to bring change for good in the larger interest of the common man. Maharashtra has never seen such a culture as our party chief Sharad Pawar has always attacked the policies of the ruling party and never targeted them personally.”Senior Congress leader Satej Patil, who was a minister in the MVA government said, “In more than 30 years of his political career, he has never seen such a politics being practised in Maharashtra. The Congress has never resorted to lowering itself so low for proving its political prowess. We always defeated our opponents in the electoral ring and never went after them at a personal level.”Patil said Fadnavis’ statement had exposed both the BJP and the Shinde camp. “The Shinde camp had been repeatedly saying that they dumped Shiv Sena because it joined hands with ideologically different parties like the Congress and the NCP. They alleged that Shiv Sena abandoned its policy of Hindutva and that forced them to quit the party. On the other hand, the BJP kept repeatedly saying that it had no role to play in Shiv Sena’s split. But now with Fadnavis confessing that he was looking for an opportunity to take revenge, their lies have been exposed. It is an embarrassment for both the BJP and the Shinde camp who now come across as untrustworthy.”NCP leader Ankush Kakade, a close associate of Sharad Pawar for over four decades, said, “From the days of Yeshwantrao Chavan to the days of Fadnavis, Maharashtra’s political culture has sunk to a new low. In the land of sants and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj where we talk of backing and uplifting each other, the BJP is talking of bringing down its own brethren. Fadnavis’ confession is indeed very unfortunate and shows BJP in a very poor light. It means the BJP as a party will sink to any low to get even with its political opponents. Political opponents should be defeated through democratic means and not by dirty politics. Uddhav Thackeray did not backstab the BJP, he openly joined hands with the Congress and the NCP. He gave enough opportunity to the BJP to decide whether it was in favour of giving the chief ministership to the Shiv Sena. The BJP remained adamant. That forced the Sena to veer towards the Congress and the NCP. Fadnavis claims is entirely wrong and is attempting to lower the image of Uddhav Thackeray.”
Without naming the Aam Aadmi Party, Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil Wednesday said that some people have “conspired” to weaken the youth of Gujarat by offering them a “pension”which is usually given to those “over 60-years of age whose bodies are infirm to work anymore”.Speaking at a rally ahead of the filing of nominations for the BJP candidates of Dholka and Dhanduka, Paatil said that on the one had the Congress had “lost the ability to think” and was reduced to a party of “saasu, jamai, dikro, dikri” referring to the Gandhis.The AAP and Congress have announced a Rs 3,000 per month unemployment allowance, if voted to power.“Some people come and offer revdis to the youths of Gujarat. They want to give them a pension of Rs 3000 …who deserves a pension? Those who are sixty years old and their bodies are so infirm that they cannot work. This is an insult for the youth of Gujarat. Imagine if he gets a pension of Rs 3,000, he goes about arranging his life around that money. He does not work, he has talent but he try to move forward… this is an attempt to weaken the youth of Gujarat- a conspiracy,” said Paatil.“The revdibaaz says the total worth of his promises is Rs 8.5 lakh crore, Gujarat’s annual budget is Rs 2.5 lakh crore. He looks a bigger jadugar than Mohammad Chhel, he can take a cat out of a bag…we have no need for such magicians”, added Paatil, who was flanked by Union Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan and former minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama who was dropped from the Dholka seat.The BJP has nominated Kalubhai Dabhi, who belongs to the Koli community, from the Dhanduka seat and Kiritsinh Dabhi, a Karadiya Rajput from the Dholka seat.Referring to the candidates as the “Dabhi bandhu (Dabhi brothers)”, Paatil urged the party workers to not only break its own victory record, but also win by record margins, assuring a 50,000 vote lead on “every seat”.Paatil said that Congress which was once a national party, has now got restricted to just one state, that of Rajasthan, where its government is on shaky ground.“As for the Congress, they have lost their power to think and don’t come out of dynasty mindset. Except BJP, there is no party that thinks of the country. Once a national party, the Congress has a government only in Rajasthan and that too is tottering. When it goes, it will be because of its own sins and what will remain is the sasu (mother-in-law), jamai,(son-in-law) dikro (son), dikri (daughter)– the family of four that has become the Congress,” Paatil said.Further accusing other parties of dynasty politics, he added, “The Shiv Sena in Maharashtra is a father-daughter party, NCP is a father-daughter party. Bengal has nephew and didi, BSP has Mayawati and nephew and SP has Akhilesh- kaka-bhatrija. In the South all parties are dynastic”.He said that industries were investing and shifting to Gujarat because there was no “unionbaazi (active trade unions)” and no “goodagardi (hooliganism)” .
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Wednesday attacked Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for its alleged failure to crack the whip against private schools violating the Right to Education Act. AAP leaders asked if there was a nexus between private schools and the BMC education department and alleged gross violations of the RTE Act, which guarantees free and compulsory education to all children in the 6 to 14 age group.Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, senior AAP leader Dhanraj Vanjari alleged the BMC education department was not taking any punitive action against such schools and giving them a free hand to act arbitrarily.Dalvi said, “Big private schools running without RTE recognition in Mumbai are being shielded without action. Money plays an important role in this and despite the provisions in the law, poor students are not getting free education in private schools.”“Parents admit their children in private schools by paying exorbitant fees. Due to the non-recovery of fines by BMC, the government has lost revenue of about Rs 600 crore. Also, there has been a loss of approximately Rs 1,200 crore due to non-action against many schools without RTE recognition in Maharashtra,” Dalvi added.AAP Mumbai president Preeti Sharma Menon said common citizens face a lot of hardships to pay their children’s school fees. “It is necessary for the government to take concrete steps to stop the arbitrariness of private schools. But the education department of the state government and the BMC is shying away from taking concrete steps to take action against schools,” Menon said.“The BMC has been ruled by Shiv Sena-BJP for many years. Both Shiv Sena and the BJP deliberately ignored the scam for their corrupt practices of power. Private schools commercialising education are being patronised, causing a loss of revenue to the government, and poor children are being denied their right to free education. The BMC should learn from the education model of the Delhi government,” she added.A senior BMC officer, requesting anonymity, said, “In the budget of 2022-23, we made provisions of Rs 3,370 crore for school education. Emphasis has been given to improving both education and infrastructure at schools.”“Our focus is administration. We can’t make any political comments. The rise in student enrolment in BMC-run schools is a measure to show things have improved,” the officer added.
SHIV SENA MLA Aaditya Thackeray on Monday accused the state government of shutting down Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Safe School Project which was proposed to be implemented in 186 municipal schools in Mumbai in 2020-21. It included making access to schools safe, and regular health check-ups in all BMC schools.Taking to social media on Monday, Thackeray said, “Safe Schools was a simple project envisioned by us with @mybmc where @WRICitiesIndia and urban planners had marked out 186 municipal schools (7 specially abled children schools) for safer entry and exit of students in 500m radius to prevent accidents or crimes.”He added, “Once inside the school, the Safe School project entailed mental healthcare, dental check-ups, diabetes awareness and management, eye check-ups. All of which now suddenly seems to have been put on the backburner by the UD Dept and the BMC.”“We launched this program on May 11, post which urban planners worked on 186 schools. However, right before the tender stage of works, the government was betrayed by a few, who later formed an unconstitutional government. This work must be beyond petty politics!” he said.However, BMC denied the allegation. A senior official from the planning department said, “Out of 190 schools, urban planners have been appointed for 25 as a pilot. The municipal commissioner’s sanction has been taken to utilise a Rs 50 crore fund. We have identified 25 schools – 10 in the Eastern Suburbs, and 15 in Western Suburbs. Preparation of tender documents and transfer of funds is in process.”
Without naming it, Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil said Wednesday that the AAP had ‘conspired’ to weaken the state’s youth by offering them a “pension”, which he said is usually given to those over 60 or are too infirm to take up work.Speaking at a rally ahead of the filing of nominations of the BJP candidates in Dholka and Dhanduka, Paatil said the Congress had ‘lost the ability to think’ and was reduced to a party of “saasu, jamai, dikro, dikri”—referring to the Gandhi family.“Some people come and offer revdis to the youth of Gujarat. They want to give them a pension of Rs 3,000 … Who deserves a pension? Those who are 60 years old and whose bodies are so infirm that they cannot work, but a pension for the youth of Gujarat? This is an insult on the youth of Gujarat. Imagine if he gets a pension of Rs 3000, he goes about arranging his life around that money. He does not work, he has talent but he tries to move forward… This is an attempt to weaken the youth of Gujarat—a conspiracy. We all need to be warned.. The revdibaaz says the total worth of his promises is Rs 8.5 lakh crore. Gujarat’s annual budget is worth just Rs 2.5 lakh crore. He looks a bigger jadugar than Mohammad Chhel (a renowned magician of Saurashtra). He can take a cat out of a bag…We have no need for such magicians,”said Paatil, flanked by Union minister of state Devusinh Chauhan and former minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, who was dropped from the Dholka seat.The AAP and the Congress have announced a monthly unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 as part of their poll promises.The BJP has nominated Kalubhai Dabhi, a Koli, for the Dhanduka seat and Kiritsinh Dabhi, a Karadiya Rajput, for the Dholka seat. Referring to the candidates as the “Dabhi bandhu (Dabhi brothers)”, Paatil urged BJP workers to help the party break its own records and score a 50,000-vote lead on “every seat”.Paatil said the Congress had got restricted to Rajasthan and that its government was on a shaky ground there. “As for the Congress, they have lost their power to think and do not come out of the dynasty mindset. Except for the BJP, there is no party that thinks of the country. Once a national party, the Congress has a government only in Rajasthan and that too is tottering. When it goes, it will be because of its own sins and what will remain is the sasu (mother-in-law), jamai (son-in-law), dikro (son), dikri (daughter)—the family of four that has become the Congress,” he said.Paatil also targeted parties including the Shiv Sena and the NCP in Maharashtra for “family politics”. “Bengal has a nephew and a didi. The BSP has Mayawati and her nephew and the SP has Akhilesh (and his uncle). In the south all parties are dynastic,” he added.Paatil said that industries were shifting to Gujarat because there was no unionbaazi (trade unionism) and goodagardi (hooliganism) in the state. “Please stay in touch with the 8 lakh page pramukhs, and get your families to vote by 8am so that by 9am the results will be out and the BJP will have won by a record margin,” he said.Dholka and Dhanduka goes to the polls on December 5 in the second phase of the Assembly elections. The votes will be counted on December 8.
WITH TWO of its brightest young faces on the dais, the Congress on Tuesday launched its campaign for Jignesh Mevani. The BJP’s Manibhai Vaghela also filed his nomination for Vadgam seat in Banaskantha Tuesday, but the excitement and the eyeballs were reserved for Vadgam sitting MLA Mevani, who had with him Kanhaiya Kumar, the latter having come from Maharashtra, where he is part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra with Rahul Gandhi.When Mevani, 41, won from Vadgam in 2017, he was an Independent MLA. He is now a bona fide Congress leader and one of its prominent Dalit faces. Nominated by the Congress from the Scheduled Caste reserved seat of Vadgam only on November 13, in its sixth list, he talked more about “sarva samaj” issues on Tuesday rather than just Dalit matters.The fireworks were by Kanhaiya, who began by calling for a two-minute silence for the 135 people who died in the recent Morbi bridge collapse and then took on the BJP government over the tragedy, the release of the Bilkis Bano rape convicts and its own dynastic politics, specifically the fact that Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay occupies the prestigious BCCI secretary post.The rallies by the Congress’s Mevani and the BJP’s Vaghela almost coincided in timing and route. Mevani held a bike rally starting from a memorial to a little-known martyr, the Shahid Veer Faljibhai Chaudhary Chowk, in village Bhangrodiya. From here, people numbering a couple of hundred accompanied him on two-wheelers over the 6 km distance to the public meeting point at the heart of Vadgam city, where a thousand or so people had gathered.Nomination day ! #MaruVadgam#MevaniSatheVadgam pic.twitter.com/1loCRtvfXe— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) November 15, 2022Enroute, the rally crossed the BJP public gathering, where the star presence was Minister of Medical Education from BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Vishwas Sarang.The Mevani rally, which was much delayed as Kanhaiya got late, mostly had Congress workers and members of Mevani’s Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, a big number of whom were women.Women were also present in large numbers when Mevani took off on his bike rally. Part of a group of four curious onlookers, one of them said they were committed Congress voters and had come especially to see the Dalit leader. “We have heard of him, but we are seeing him for the first time.”The 2011 Census put around 12% of the population in the village, with approximately 300 households, as SCs. Villagers estimate the household number at 1,500-1,800 now. The village also has Muslims and Bhil tribals.About a kilometre from the village chowk live two members of the Cheliya Muslim trading community, who frequently travel to Mumbai for business. The community is known to run restaurant chains in Maharashtra and Gujarat.Claiming that they support the BJP, one of the traders confirms what is the general consensus about this no-wave, no-overarching-issue election. “Iss baar sab thanda hai (There is no excitement this time).”कांग्रेस पार्टी के हजारों कार्यकर्ता, पदाधिकारी, समर्थकों और क्रांतिकारी युवा नेता कन्हैया कुमार की विशेष उपस्तिथि में आज वडगाम विधानसभा क्षेत्र से अपना नामांकन दाखिल किया। मुझे विश्वास है वडगाम की जनता फिर एक बार मुझे अपना प्यार और आशीर्वाद जरूर देगी।#mevanisathevadgam pic.twitter.com/KsQj9I8nAX— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) November 15, 2022BJP candidate Vaghela is well known in the area, like Mevani. As a Congress leader in 2017, he had stayed away from the Vadgam contest, contributing in large part to Mevani’s win. Mevani had defeated the candidate put up by the BJP by nearly 19,700 votes.At the Vaghela rally, it was announced that the BJP had set itself a target of 150 seats in Gujarat (of total 182), and was holding such meetings as it could not go door-to-door to meet all. MP minister Sarang talked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, J P Nadda and other national leaders of the party, while listing the Modi government “successes” like the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and emphasising on the benefits of “a double-engine sarkar”.Mevani, the consummate politician now, told the people of Bhangrodiya from where he started his bike rally that the village would rank first in his development plans for Vadgam. At the public meeting, he gave “three guarantees” focused on hyper-local issues.आज साथी @jigneshmevani80 ने वड़गाम विधानसभा चुनाव में प्रत्याशी के तौर पर अपना नामांकन दाखिल किया। साथी जिग्नेश ने हमेशा न्याय और सद्भावना के पक्ष में अपनी आवाज़ बुलंद की है। इस चुनाव में उनकी जीत जनवादी राजनीति के मूल्यों की जीत होगी। pic.twitter.com/3TpS4SayF9— Kanhaiya Kumar (@kanhaiyakumar) November 15, 2022“For students of all communities, I will be constructing a library, be it from the MLA grant or if I have to go out with a begging bowl. Secondly, while the Mukteshwar water project has been approved, you will see water in the Karmavat lake within the next five years. Thirdly, it has been nearly one-and-a-half years since the government announced that the Jalotra GIDC will be set up, but not even a brick has been laid. I guarantee that even if I have to fight, the GIDC unit will be set up,” Mevani said.The sitting MLA also talked about the promise he had made in 2017 regarding getting Narmada water to Vadgam. “I made representations, raised the issue in the Vidhan Sabha and today Rs 152 crore worth of water projects have been approved,” he said.On issues beyond Vadgam, Mevani said he had always raised his voice against unconstitutional actions, and said that if the Congress formed the government in Gujarat, cases registered over protests against the CAA/NRC in Chhapi, Banaskantha, including on serious charges such as culpable homicide, would be withdrawn.Mevani added that a Congress government would also drop charges of misappropriation of milk cooperative funds against former BJP leader Vipul Chaudhary. The Chaudhary community comprises the second-largest chunk of the Vadgam electorate, after Muslims.In his address, Kanhaiya said the coming elections are about “who is responsible for the Morbi bridge collapse, and for Covid-19 patients not receiving oxygen in hospitals”. “What the TV terms as an issue, is not the real issue. Close your eyes and vote for the issue that bothers you — inflation, petrol price, rapists’ sanskar being lauded (in a reference to the Bilkis Bano case), your career,” he said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction claims to be unruffled by the party’s seniormost Lok Sabha MP Ganjan Kiritikar joining the faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. But the effects of the veteran leader’s switch are likely to be felt by the Thackeray group as he held several important party positions in its stronghold Mumbai.The 79-year-old Kiritikar is the MP from the North West Mumbai parliamentary constituency. He was associated with the Thackeray-led party for more than five decades and closely worked with Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. On November 11, he became the 13th of the Sena’s 19 MPs to join Shinde, whose rebellion split the party and led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in June.The septuagenarian leader was a member of the Shiv Sena’s national executive and headed the party’s Lokadhikar Samiti that has, for years, advocated for the rights of Marathis. The committee, with more than 10,000 members, is active in banks, insurance companies, airlines, oil companies, and Central government offices in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra. The Samiti works to ensure that Marathis are prioritised in 80 per cent of jobs in the state and, with Kirtikar’s defection, there is a possibility of a further split in the Samiti and the Sena’s national executive.Following Kirtikar’s defection, two of the three Sena MPs in Mumbai have gone over to Shinde’s side and this are likely to have consequences in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections that are around the corner. Mumbai South-Cental MP Rahul Shewale is the other Sena parliamentarian in the Shinde camp. Only Mumbai South MP Arvind Sawant is still with Thackeray. Though 40 Sena MLAs and 12 MPs before Kirtikar were with the Shinde camp, Thackeray was still the dominant force in the Samiti and the national executive.The Thackeray-led Sena denied Kirtikar’s move to the rival camp would have any effect, calling him a “spent force” and a leader who would soon be forgotten by the masses. According to political observers, this move will also benefit the Shinde group’s legal battle with the Thackeray camp for control of the party. The Election Commission’s (EC) final verdict on the matter is pending and both factions are in the process of submitting affidavits and necessary documents to the poll panel to prove who controls the majority of the party’s elected representatives and national executive members. With Kirtikar’s induction, the Shinde group has received a shot in the arm.Welcoming Kirtikar last Friday, Shinde referred to him as the Sena’s “Bhishma Pitamaha” and said his experience and guidance would be crucial to how things unfold for his group in the coming months. “Kirtikar ji has worked for several years in the interest of Maharashtra by standing shoulder to shoulder with Balasaheb Thackeray. He will strengthen Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena further,” said the CM.In July, the veteran MP held several meetings with Uddhav Thackeray along with fellow parliamentarians of the party to convince him to reconcile with the BJP and exit the MVA. After joining the CM and his faction, Kirtikar reiterated what other rebel MLAs and MPs have been claiming — that teaming up with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had weakened and damaged the Sena, and the party’s elected representatives were not being given importance by government officials.“We all the MPs told Uddhav to break the alliance with the NCP. But our request was not considered, so 12 MPs switched over. We also asked him to reconcile with the BJP and the Shinde faction. But there was no move towards this, so I decided to switch,” Kirtikar said.The MP also accused Uddhav of insulting and humiliating him. Kirtikar claimed that in 2004 the Sena chief had tried to cancel his poll ticket and the party gave Arvind Sawant preference over him in 2019 when it came to the allocation of a Central government ministry in the Narendra Modi government.