Ndtv | 5 days ago | 05-08-2022 | 06:27 am
Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis had visited Delhi last on July 27, with a draft of the cabinet listMumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is in Delhi to confer with the BJP leadership about the final list for the state cabinet, which needs urgent decision with the assembly session due to begin later this month. Cabinet expansion has been pending since June 30, when Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Mr Fadnavis took oath. If signed off by the BJP's central leaders, the Cabinet expansion might happen on Friday, sources said.Mr Shinde, who is unwell, is skipping the trip. Sources said the Chief Minister is suffering from over-exertion and has been advised rest by his doctors. Mr Shinde has cancelled all his programmes after the doctors' recommendation, sources said.Mr Shinde and Mr Fadnavis had visited Delhi last on July 27, with a draft of the cabinet list. But no decision could be taken, with too many aspirants for the maximum 43 seats in the cabinet including the Chief Minister.Shiv Sena leaders who supported Mr Shinde during his two-week rebellion and helped topple the Uddhav Thackeray government, expect to be rewarded. So does the BJP for its behind-the screen role.Sources said the contention for key portfolios extend to the very top.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comAs the Chief Minister, Mr Shinde has his eyes on the plum portfolios. Mr Fadnavis -- a former Chief Minister who has been persuaded to take up the role of Mr Shinde's deputy by the BJP's chief strategist Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda -- is not willing to back down in this area, sources have indicated.Maharashtra has had a two-man cabinet since Mr Shinde and the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis took oath on June 30. The BJP and the Sena faction led by Mr Shinde have been unable to come to an understanding about the power sharing in the cabinet, sources have indicated.
The latest turn of events in Bihar politics reaffirms two things. First, there are no permanent friends and foes in politics. The JD(U) and RJD fought a fierce electoral battle in the 2020 assembly elections. They will now be sharing power in the state. The BJP and JD(U) contested the 2015 assembly election against each other, became friends in 2017 and formed a coalition government. Second, Tuesday’s developments underline that ideology has very little role in Indian politics today. Ordinary voters are confused if Nitish Kumar was doing justice to his ideology when he was in alliance with the BJP earlier or if he is being true to his leanings now while forming a government in alliance with the RJD and others.These are larger questions. The more immediate question is: Will the new coalition government survive? Other questions arise as well: Can Nitish Kumar run a JD(U)-RJD coalition government when he received a mandate to run a BJP-JD(U) government? What will be the impact of this change in Bihar politics and how will the development impact national politics?The latest turn of events will certainly mean a realignment of social and political forces in Bihar. The state seems to be all set for Mandal 2.0 politics with the JD(U) and RJD aiming to mobilise OBCs and other marginalised sections of voters while the BJP would try to maximise on upper castes votes while also making inroads amongst the Dalits and OBC voters, especially the “lower” sections of the latter, with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha election. In the last few years, the BJP – riding on the popularity of Nitish Kumar in Bihar and Narendra Modi at the Centre — has been able to attract lower OBC voters and a section of the Dalits. The Bihar realignment could pose a challenge to the party in retaining this support base. The prime minister has recently appealed to the marginalised sections amongst Muslims, the Pasmanda community. However, his call is unlikely to resonate with this community in Bihar.Though the Congress is a junior partner in the alliance, being part of the ruling coalition will give it a new lease of life, not only in Bihar but in other states as well. This could boost the morale of party workers. Smaller parties like the LJP and LJNSP will have no choice but to be a part of one or the other alliance. The politics of Bihar could turn completely bipolar, at least in 2024.The BJP could lose some seats in 2024 if it contests against a united opposition. However, in the long run, this turn of events could pave the way for the expansion of the BJP’s support base in Bihar. The party could build a new leadership helping it to emerge from the shadow of Nitish Kumar.The realignment could also give a new lease of life to the JD(U), but it remains to be seen what the development means for Nitish Kumar in the long run. There were clear signs of the party being on the wane in the last few years. Its vote share has undergone a steady decline since 2019. Lokniti-CSDS surveys gave clear evidence of Nitish Kumar’s popularity during the initial years of his chief ministership. But there has been a steady decline in his appeal in the past five to seven years. The latest change may dent Kumar’s image further.The coming together of the JD(U)-RJD and Congress also sends a message to regional parties in other states. They must come together to halt the Shah-Modi duo’s victory march (Ashwamedh yajna). The recent toppling of the Maharashtra government and BJP President J P Nadda’s assertion that regional parties are on their way out has alarmed the leaders of these parties. The selective use of central forces against Opposition leaders is another cause for concern. The experiment in Bihar may, therefore. motivate the regional parties to come together before the 2024 Lok Sabha election. But the big question is: Can these parties sink their differences?Despite his political somersaults and declining credibility, Nitish Kumar may still be acceptable to leaders of some regional parties as the possible face of the Opposition for 2024. But the task is cut out for him. It is difficult to assume that leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and some others will accept Kumar as the leader of a united Opposition. In any case, there is a big “if” about opposition parties coming together in their fight against Modi.But all this does not mean that this re-alignment will have no impact on the BJP. The coming together of the JD(U) and RJD could make the Opposition more vocal and critical of the Centre’s policies. It would be better placed to mount an attack on the BJP over rising prices and growing unemployment. These critical voices may get subdued in the euphoria over nationalism – likely the BJP’s most important plank for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections given that the construction of the Ram Mandir is likely to be completed by then. In recent times, Opposition parties have raised questions on matters related to price rise and unemployment but they have failed to find resonance with the common voters on the ground.(The writer is professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and a political analyst. Views expressed are personal)
The Supreme Court on Wednesday transferred to Delhi all the FIRs registered against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her remarks on Prophet Muhammed and clubbed them with the one registered in the national capital.They will now be investigated by Delhi Police’s Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit, which is investigating the Delhi case. The court also gave Sharma protection from arrest till the investigation is completed in the matter.“Since this court has already taken cognisance of a serious threat to the life and liberty of the petitioner, and specific instances in relation thereto have be been cited in our previous order dated July 19, 2022, besides those contained the additional affidavit filed by the petitioner today, we direct that all the FIRs…be transferred and clubbed for the purpose of investigation by Delhi Police,” a bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala ordered.In its order dated July 19, the court had already granted Sharma protection from arrest, but she pointed out in a fresh application that more FIRs were registered against her. Granting the relief, the court added that Delhi Police should ensure that the first FIR, registered in Maharashtra, and the one registered by the IFSO unit are investigated together by clubbing the other FIRs with them.Counsel for the West Bengal government requested the apex court to set up a special investigation team to inquire into the matter, but the court said, “Since IFSO of Delhi Police appears to be a specialised agency, it shall be appreciated if all the FIRs are investigated by the said unit”. “The IFSO as a specialised investigating agency shall be at liberty to collect…any information any if so required for the purpose of reaching to a logical conclusion,” it added.The bench also rejected West Bengal’s request that the investigation be monitored by the court.The court said its directions “shall also extend to any other FIR/complaint which may be registered/entertained against the petitioner…in respect to the same subject matter…and in that event, the investigation of the FIR or complaint to be registered in future shall also stand transferred to the IFSO unit of Delhi Police for the purpose of investigation”.Though Sharma had requested the FIRs to be quashed, the apex court said she could approach the Delhi High Court for the purpose.On July 1, while refusing to entertain her plea to club the FIRs registered against her in different states with the one in Delhi, the same Supreme Court bench came down heavily on the suspended BJP spokesperson, saying she had a “loose tongue” and was “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country”, including the murder of a tailor in Udaipur for allegedly sharing her remarks.
THANE: Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed hope that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would return to power in Bihar soon and denied allegations the party was finishing off its allies. Fadnavis, who was the party in-charge for the Bihar polls, was talking to the media in Thane, Wednesday, following the political turmoil in the state. He denied the allegations made by rivals that the BJP was working towards finishing off regional allies. He defended senior party colleague Sushil Kumar Modi's statement following the JD(U) split where the latter said one can see what happens to those who betray the BJP, while hinting at the political turmoil in Maharashtra. Read AlsoPawar accuses BJP of finishing off regional allies, backs Nitish Kumar for snapping ties with saffron partyPUNE: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of finishing off its regional allies gradually, and supported Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's decision to snap ties with the BJP. Speaking to reporters in Baramati town of Maharashtra's Pune district, Pawar claimed the"Modi’s statements have been misinterpreted. The BJP has never betrayed our allies which can be seen in Bihar and Maharashtra. In Bihar, we won 75 seats while the JD(U) polled 42, but despite this, the BJP allowed Nitish Kumar to become the chief minister. In Maharashtra, after the Shiv Sena backstabbed us, the ‘real Sena’ with 50 MLAs joined us later, following which we wholeheartedly supported Eknath Shinde- a Shiv Sainik- to become the CM despite the BJP having a huge majority at 115,” said Fadnavis. Read AlsoNitish Kumar: Running strong despite twists and turnsThe BJP's aggressive style, seeking to vanquish adversaries and gobble up allies, appears to have got the goat of Kumar, who now seems to have decided that he is better off with his former allies who showed limited ambition.Fadnavis didn’t lose the opportunity to target NCP chief Sharad Pawar who had criticised the scramble by the Shinde faction for getting the Shiv Sena party symbol. Pawar had said that when he left the Congress, he not just gave it a different name but also earned a separate symbol to contest the polls, following which Fadnavis quickly retorted saying the uneasiness of the senior leader was palpable and justified. Read AlsoBihar political key points: Nitish Kumar takes oath as Bihar CM for 8th time in 22 yearsJD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took oath as Bihar's chief minister again, the eighth time since he was first sworn-in as the CM of the state in 2000. This came a day after Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the BJP in Bihar alleging that the party "tried weakening the JD(U)"."Pawar saab said that we are finishing off our allies but in Maharashtra, an equal number of ministers were sworn in from both the camps despite us having the majority. Also, when Pawar saab had formed his own party, the situation was different and there were no laws governing defections by the MLAs. The situation is different now and the Shinde group is efficiently fighting the legal battle on the issue," he said.
Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashish Shelar on Wednesday said his party didn't "orchestrate" Eknath Shinde's rebellion in Shiv Sena even as remarks made by his BJP colleague from Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, caused a row. After Bihar chief minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar parted away with the BJP, Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday said the BJP "broke" only those who betray them (BJP). In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena betrayed us and faced the consequences, he had said. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Shelar said Eknath Shinde rebelled over "ideological differences" with the Sena leadership. Shinde's revolt along with 39 of 55 MLAs of Shiv Sena led to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in June. Shinde took an oath as the chief minister on June 30 with the support of the BJP. "Eknath Shinde's rebellion was on the ideological differences with the Shiv Sena leadership. The BJP did not orchestrate it. What Sushil Kumar Modi meant was that he wanted to know why did Shinde have to leave Sena to protect and preserve the Hindutva envisaged by Balasaheb Thackeray," said Shelar, a former minister. Sushil Kumar Modi had referred to Shiv Sena after Nitish Kumar joined the grand alliance. "He (Nitish Kumar) can never get the same respect he was being given in BJP, in the RJD and Congress. Nitish says his party (JD-U) was being split. The BJP never betrayed any of its allies. We have only broken those who betrayed us... Be it the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra which was in alliance with BJP. And when the Shiv Sena betrayed us what was the consequence?" he had asked.Shelar said the conflict would not have arisen had Balasaheb Thackeray's Shiv Sena remained with BJP. "When they were with us, Uddhav Thackeray was towing the Hindutva line," Shelar said. The Shiv Sena broke the long-standing alliance with BJP after the 2019 Maharashtra elections claiming that the BJP leadership reneged on its promise of sharing the post of chief minister on rotation. Thackeray subsequently joined hands with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form a government, which lasted till June this year.
The ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, the BJP government’s programme to hoist at least 20 crore flags atop houses across the country for three days, from August 13 to August 15, has triggered similar campaigns by other political parties to mark the 75th year of Independence. While doing so, the parties, which have planned events on a grand scale, took potshots at each other and the Centre.On Tuesday, the AAP government in Delhi, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, unfurled the 500th high-mast Tricolour in Delhi as part of its campaign to hoist national flags across the Capital. It has also set a target of putting up 80 lakh such flags across residences, government and private establishments from August 13 to 15.Kejriwal said, “On the 75th Independence Day, we all must pledge to make India the number one country in the world. There are several such nations that attained independence after us yet surpassed our growth despite all the potential and hard work of our people,” adding: “We have to pledge to develop such a system where free education, world-class healthcare and 100 per cent employment become fundamental rights of the citizens.”He said that there was a “need to eradicate ‘Pariwarwaad’ (dynastic politics) and ‘Dostwaad’ (to favour friends)”, and criticised the Congress and the BJP, saying one party “exploited its power by spending public money on its family members” and the other did so on its “friends”.The same day in Punjab, Congress chief Amrinder Warring launched the five-day ‘Tiranga Yatra’ from Khemkaran in Tarn Taran district of the state. Senior leaders in the state have been assigned 75 km each as the party expects to cover 2,000 kilometres in five days.Launching the campaign, which coincides with the Quit India movement in 1942, Warring said the Congress, “unlike the Bharatiya Janata Party or any other political party in the country, had a great and glorious history of sacrifice for the national Tricolour.”“They are no comparison to us when it comes to watching and safeguarding the national interest and our leaders have laid down their lives for nationalism, both before and after the Independence,” he added.Their Congress colleagues in Maharashtra launched the ‘Azadi Gaurav Padyatra’ on Monday. Leaders are expected to travel 75 kilometres by foot. Speaking in Wardha, Patole alleged that while the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), never participated in the Quit India movement of 1942. Today there is “a surge of patriotism, but it is fake, he said.In Uttar Pradesh, as the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government is planning to hoist 4.5 crore flags between August 11 and 17, Opposition parties, such as the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), have also introduced their own campaigns.On Monday, SP president Akhilesh Yadav launched a campaign to hoist national flags in every household in the state from August 9 to August 15, starting from Jhauvva village in Kannauj district. The SP’s campaign is week-long, with the party choosing to start it from August 9 to mark August Kranti Diwas.Asked whether the SP was following the BJP in undertaking the Tricolour campaign to display patriotism, party spokesperson Abdul Hafeez Gandhi said, “No particular party has the copyright on patriotism. It is everyone’s right to express love and respect for the country. Since this is a special occasion of 75 years of freedom, SP has undertaken a week-long programme. Party workers will reach out to people with the appeal to hoist national flags.”On Tuesday, BSP national president Mayawati made an appeal to the people of the country to hoist the Tricolour at their homes. BSP leader Faizan Khan said, “BSP has always respected the national flag. But a written appeal through tweet has been made because a silence on the issue can send a message that the BSP was against the flag-hoisting programme just because BJP is doing it on a grand scale.” He also added that if other parties stayed away from the campaign, the BJP would try to project itself as the only “patriotic political party”.As part of its two-week programme titled ‘Swatantra Bharatha Vajraotsava Dwi Saptaham’, the Telangana government on Monday began distributing flags and started screenings of Richard Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’ to school students.Senior officials said that 22 lakh students will be shown the film, with 2.50 lakh students watching it per day.The government has also been distributing national flags to every household, with handloom weavers reportedly making 1.20 crore flags.The fortnightly events will also include mass singing of the national anthem on August 16, with public representatives tasked to mobilise people.Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said that around 1.62 crore national flags would be hoisted in the state from August 13 to 15.(With inputs from PTI)