The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 18-01-2023 | 11:45 am
As part of its “second guarantee” ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress unveiled the ‘Gruha Lakshmi Scheme’ Monday, promising Rs 2,000 per month to each woman head of a family. As the Congress hails it as a game changer to get women into the party fold, MLA and former chief of the Karnataka Congress’s women’s wing, Laxmi Hebbalkar, explains the party’s reasoning and why it expects the scheme to work:What is the Congress’s objective behind the promise of Rs 2,000 per woman head of a household?HEBBALKAR: This assurance is part of our election manifesto. Our promise is in response to growing inflation, which is driving an increase in prices of all essential goods. With this scheme, we want to especially strengthen rural women. At a time when prices of gas cylinders, oil and other goods are rising, we want to provide women some relief. If we give them a subsidy for LPG, they will get only that. Giving them money is better as some large families require two gas cylinders per month and some can make do with just one.Just giving subsidies is a sort of injustice to large families. But with the money, they can decide whether they want to buy gas or other essential items. This is the intention… Every woman head of a family, irrespective of its economic situation, is eligible. For instance, if my mother wants Rs 2,000, she can claim it. We have also promised 200 units of free electricity for everyone.Are you expecting electoral dividends, with more women voting for the Congress?HEBBALKAR: This is election time. If I deny and say that this was not done with elections in mind, it would not be fair. Of course, we have announced this popular programme aimed at women keeping the coming Assembly elections in mind. This is like Anna Bhagya (a scheme offering grains at a very low price to all families, launched by then Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah in 2013).Yes, this money can be used for women’s benefit. She can purchase her medicines or whatever she requires with the amount.Do you think such measures can help overcome caste-based politics and force parties to keep gender issues in mind?HEBBALKAR: I can only say that this will help the party. We will gain the confidence of women, we will get the support of her family. We think that one woman is not a single vote, but is equivalent to five votes. She can influence her husband, son, in-laws.You talk of empowering women, is the Congress also thinking in terms of increasing their representation in the Legislature?HEBBALKAR: For many years, the party has strived for upliftment of women. Even today (January 16), Siddaramaiah spoke about the women’s reservation Bill (at a rally attended by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi). During UPA-II, (Congress leader) Sonia Gandhi tabled the Bill to ensure reservation for women in the Lok Sabha. This was not passed due to opposition by some parties. But now, we are seriously considering providing more and more opportunities to women.However, we all know that winning is a criteria (in elections). And me, Roopakala M (Kolar Gold Fields MLA), Anjali Nimbalkar (Khanapur) and Sowmya Reddy (Jayanagar) won from four constituencies where the Congress had rarely won. We have proved that women can win in constituencies where the party had lost hope. We are giving our own example to the party high command and trying to convince them to give tickets to women in such constituencies. We have assured the party that we will fight and come back with a victory. This time we hope that due to the influence of Priyanka Gandhi, Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar, more tickets will be given to women.You represent a constituency in the Kittur Karnataka region (formerly Mumbai Karnataka). The Congress faced challenges here in the 2018 elections and performed below par. What are your plans for this election?HEBBALKAR: Whichever party, be it the Congress or BJP, wins more seats in the Kittur Karnataka region, forms the government. This time, unlike 2018, the scenario is very different (for the Congress). People of this region are fed up with price rise, corruption and other issues. They see Siddaramaiah, other Congress leaders and the party as capable of offering better governance, as was the case in the 2013 Congress government.Also, there is no internal strife among Congress leaders in the region. Compared to 2018, there are no more internal fights. This will benefit us.Since you represent the Panchamasali community, how will their reservation demand have a bearing on the coming elections?HEBBALKAR: I have to be very direct about this. The current government has to announce 2A reservation for Panchamasalis. Not only that, they have to reveal the procedure by which they will implement it. Only then can the BJP hope to make any gains from it.(The Panchamasali Lingayats have been agitating for nearly two years for 15% quota under OBC 2A category. Partly to meet this demand, the state government recently announced 2D category for the Lingayat community, along with 2C for Vokkaligas, with the promise of 6% of the 10% EWS quota. The Panchamasalis have rejected the same.)
MUMBAI: Polling for five MLC seats for the teachers (Nagpur, Aurangabad and Konkan) and graduates (Nashik and Amravati) constituencies, marked by a controversy over the suspension of a father-son duo from the Congress for anti-party activities and utter confusion over selection of official nominees by political parties, took place on Monday.Though there are several candidates in the fray, it appears that there will be a straight contest between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and the BJP candidates. Counting will be held on February 2.The polling percentage in Nashik was 49.3; in Amravati it was 49.7, in Aurangabad 86, in Nagpur 86.2 and in Konkan it was 91 (figures rounded off).Such elections are barely controversial. But high drama was witnessed over the Nashik division graduates seat after Congress nominee Sudhir Tambe failed to submit his nomination form before the deadline and his son Satyajeet filed his instead as an independent canddiate.Sudhir Tambe is the brother-in-law of Congress legislature party leader and former revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat. The Congress high command had approved Sudhir Tambe's nomination, while he was keen on his son Satyajeet, a former state youth Congress president, getting nominated.According to former chief minister Ashok Chavan, the AICC had given Sudhir Tambe a blank authorization form so that either he or his son could file the nomination. On the last day of filing nominations, both the father and son reached the election office, but Satyajeet Tambe filed papers. MPCC president Nana Patole reacted sharply, alleging the Tambe family had ditched the Congress. According to reports, Satyajeet Tambe was vying for the BJP's support, but it did not take any decision.On the other hand, BJP activist Shubhangi Patil too was vying for the BJP's nomination, and when she failed to get it, she approached Uddhav Thackeray for the MVA's support. After several rounds of talks, the MVA alliance supported the candidature of Patil. As a result, Nashik will witness a straight between the BJP and the Congress rebel.Satyajeet' Tambe's presence in the fray is being viewed as a major embarrassment for Thorat. Patole claimed that the MVA nominees will win all five seats. "Teachers and graduates in these constituencies are with the MVA," he said. Leader of opposition Ajit Pawar and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had toured extensively to campaign for the MVA and BJP nominees respectively for these five council constituencies.
The minister's comment had stirred up a controversy, resulting in an ink attack on him. (File)Pune: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chitra Wagh has compared Maharashtra cabinet minister and her senior party colleague Chandrakant Patil with social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule.Wagh, who heads the state BJP women's wing, made the comments on Sunday at a programme organised here by local party leader Hemant Rasne which was also attended by Patil."We can see Savitribai (wife of Phule and pioneer of women's education in Maharashtra in the 19th century) in households, but a search is on for a Jyotiba (Phule) like Chandrakant Patil and BJP leader Hemant Rasne," she said.Notably, state Higher and Technical Education Minister Patil, who is an MLA from Pune, had kicked up a row by commenting that B R Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule did not seek government grants for running educational institutions, but they “begged” people to gather funds for starting schools and colleges.The use of the word “begged” had stirred up a controversy, resulting in an ink attack on Patil.Meanwhile, Wagh, who had filed a complaint against social media influencer Uorfi Javed for dressing "improperly" in public, said the latter should be praised as she has started wearing full clothes.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"I never had any problem with that woman or with any religion. I had a problem with abnormality but now I think we should praise her because she is seen in full clothes now. I have received multiple photographs of her and I can see she's wearing good clothes," Wagh said responding to a query from reporters.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayShah Rukh Khan's Signature Pose And A Pathaan-Special Dance
PUNE: There is a cold wave expected between 1st-4th Feb over Maharashtra, Mumbai will experience temperatures way below 0 degrees for the first time ever." This was among thousands of forwarded messages, including "The reintroduction of Rs 1000 notes into circulation is scheduled for February 1, 2023" and "Crypto currency is now a legal instrument of payment in India " that TOI recently busted as fake.Under the Times Verified campaign, readers send any suspicious messages then see circulating on social media to this paper on the WhatsApp number 9819888887. To verify their credibility, our expert panel - comprising reporters, editors and representatives from the municipality and government - taps into its carefully-cultivated network of trustworthy sources.Launched nationally on November 21 last year, the Times Verified initiative aims to break the chain of viral misinformation and disinformation that has been infecting social media groups. Since the launch, TOI's editorial team has received close to 1.2 lakh messages, half of which turned out to be false. Besides misleading headlines like "The retirement age for all Govt employees increased to 67 from 15th Jan 2023" and "12 passengers of Yeti Airlines that crashed, have survived and are getting treated at a local medical Center in Nepal", the fake news included panic-inducing messages like "Meta announces major down time of 3 days for all its social media platforms starting 3rd Feb 2023, resulting out of scheduled maintenance."Recently, at the Election Commission of India's international conference on the use of technology election integrity in Delhi, Anthony Banbury, president of the US-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems, stated that misinformation was one of the biggest threats to democracy and electoral integrity. Banbury said technological tools were being developed and made available to individuals, candidates, political parties and "malign actors". "More and more companies are willing to sell commercial services to candidates, parties or nefarious actors who want to influence election outcomes to spread misinformation campaigns, to attack political opponents. And where those attacks are coming from are not seen by those consuming the information via social media," Banbury added.In this scenario, the job of our chain-breakers - readers who have been forwarding dubious messages to help identify red flags - is significant. Among these fake news chain-breakers today are readers like Karnataka's Rathnakar Holla, West Bengal's Tapas Das and Maharashtra's Vivek Amonkar, Subhash Bahulekar and Atul Bag. To join them in the war on misinformation, all you have to do is send anxiety-causing headlines doing the rounds of social media networks to our expert panel.
MUMBAI: Activists of right-wing outfits took out a rally in the city on Sunday against 'love jihad' and demanded anti-conversion laws and a crackdown on land-grabbing in the name of religion. Leaders and workers of right-wing outfits -RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP marched in the rally. Many leaders and MLAs of BJP and those of CM Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena faction also took part.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday said that in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will break all records and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will retain power with a thumping majority. He was talking to reporters after attending the live screening of 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' event addressed by PM Modi. Shinde saw the programme at the municipal school in Kisan Nagar locality of the city, where he had studied.Stating that he was pleased to witness the 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' programme in Thane, where he grew up, Shinde added that he was proud of being a civic school student. Replying to a question on the results of a recent political survey conducted by a media house on the next year's Lok Sabha polls, he said, "In the next general elections, PM Modi will break all records and the NDA will return to power with a thumping majority." Shinde said a survey conducted on just a handful of people does not give a true picture. "They ignored the results of the recently-concluded gram panchayat elections, where the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (Shinde-led faction) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) performed very well," he said. "In politics, two plus two is not always four. A survey based on just a handful of people does not give the real picture...I have got the details of how many people were surveyed. I do not want to go into any figures," he said. In the two-and-a-half years before he became the chief minister, a "government with negativity" was in power, Shinde said while referring to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray. But there is a government with positivity in the state now. There was dissatisfaction in the state during the previous government's rule. But we launched several development works and changed the entire atmosphere in the state, he said. "Now, even I will not be able to say as to who will join hands with whom and whose alliance will break apart. But the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena and BJP have been doing good work and this is a government of the common man. People have already decided whom they will vote for and we understand people's response," he said. "The survey said that the NDA government will come to power and that the popularity of PM Modi is increasing. Is it any different in Maharashtra?...We will be leading whenever elections are held. People of the state have already made up their mind. Hence, those who want to enjoy the opinion poll results for the next one-and-a-half years, let them enjoy," he said. "We are not afraid of elections. Future itself will give replies to the predictions of the survey," he said. During his visit to Thane city on Thursday, Shiv Sena (UBT) president and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had alleged that the Sena and Maharashtra were defamed due to the "betrayal and defections" that took place, a reference to Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the MVA government.Replying to Thackeray's remarks, Shinde said, "We give replies through our work. If you make two allegations, we will carry out four works. It will be our reply. People are not interested in allegations and counter-allegations." "When 50 MLAs, 13 MPs and several office-bearers of the party across the country and even close relatives deserted them, then they should have done soul searching and introspected. Instead of that, they are indulging in allegations. I wish them all the best," he said. Students from 968 schools, including 140 civic ones, in Thane witnessed the 'Pariksha pe Charcha' programme at their schools, BJP MLC and party's Thane city district president Niranjan Davkhare said in a release.