Times of India | 4 days ago | 23-11-2022 | 04:41 pm
MUMBAI: Amid both the states — Karnataka and Maharashtra — readying for a legal battle linked to the decades-old boundary dispute over Belagavi, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said not a single Maharashtra village would go to Karnataka. "Not a single Maharashtra village will go to Karnataka. The state government will take the fight to get Marathi-speaking villages including Belgaum-Karwar-Nipani too to our state," Fadnavis said. On Monday, the Eknath Shinde government in Maharashtra appointed two ministers to coordinate with the legal team regarding the court case on the dispute that is set to come up in the Supreme Court. Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said the state, too, deployed a battery of lawyers, including Mukul Rohatgi and Shyam Diwan, to fight its case. The dispute dates back to the 1960s after the reorganisation of States on linguistic lines. Maharashtra laid claim on Belagavi, earlier known as Belgaum, which was part of the Bombay Presidency at the time of independence, on linguistic grounds. Belagavi bordering Maharashtra has a significant population of Marathi-speaking people, and has for decades been a bone of contention between the two States Karnataka repeatedly maintained that the Mahajan Commission report on the border issue is final, and, "there is no question of letting go even an inch of Karnataka's border". Bommai reiterated this week that there is no example to show that what had been done under the States Reorganisation Act that was reviewed. "The border dispute is a political tool used by all parties in Maharashtra. But they will never succeed," he had said, adding that Maharashtra's plea has not found maintainability in all these years and the State is prepared to argue that it is not maintainable. Shinde said earlier this week: "Late Balasaheb Thackeray was always a supporter of the State's demand to make Belgaum a part of Maharashtra. We have concentrated our focus on solving the issue. If required, the number of lawyers will be increased". Karnataka has sought to make Belagavi a second power centre after Bengaluru. The government constructed the 'Suvarna Vidhana Soudha' in this town bordering Maharashtra and held winter sessions of the State Legislature there from 2012. The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) and pro-Marathi groups have for decades been fighting for inclusion of Belagavi and Marathi-speaking villages of the region with the western State. (With inputs from agencies)
MUMBAI: The government has issued a fresh tender worth Rs 53 crore for carrying out civil and electrical works in the state's Central library building in Kalina. The call for new works ends the much-controversial takeover of land from Mumbai University and its transfer to a private builder to commercially exploit it in return for building the library premises, a proposal mooted by the then public works department minister Chhagan Bhujbal. Interestingly, documents accessed by TOI show that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government also paid the builder Rs 137.07 crore for cancelling the 12-year-old agreement and taking back the land, "despite the infrastructure company not fulfilling the agreement". The matter dates back to November 26, 1993, when a 4-acre plot was taken from the Mumbai University for a paltry sum of Rs 1.6 lakh to construct a Central library on lines with the Asiatic library. The then government decided to hand it over to a private firm which was to construct 23,423 sqm of the building for the Central Library, in lieu of which it could exploit the rest of the land and construct 18,421 sqm of private construction - residential housing and a commercial complex. The land was given for a 99-year lease at Re 1 per sqm. On July 6, 2010, the work order was issued and it was agreed to complete the construction in 36 months. The library building was to be built at a cost of Rs 82.5 crore. "However, despite the fact that time went by and construction did not complete, the government did not take any action against the developer. The state government must set up an inquiry against the ministers and the officers who let this pass and caused losses to the state exchequer," said RTI activist Anil Galgali. What was shocking was the turn of events after 2019. In September 2019, following disputes, the state government decided to scrap the project as there was no progress. The private builder demanded a compensation of Rs 229.6 crore, but after an audit, the state settled the matter and paid the former Rs 137.07 crore and budgeted for Rs 46.67 crore for completing the unfinished work, which ballooned to Rs 53 crore in 2022. Galgali said the government did not benefit from this contract, instead it incurred an additional loss of Rs 107 crore. "In fact, the infrastructure company which did not complete the contract benefited in the bargain. If the initial cost of construction was Rs 82.5 crore, on what basis was Rs 137.07 crore paid to the developer?" he asked. He has demanded an inquiry to be set up by the chief minister and deputy chief minister.
As Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has been on an overdrive to meet visitors, the Chief Secretary’s Office in the state has received several verbal complaints against at least three senior IAS officers for allegedly refusing to attend visitors. Officials usually meet individuals without appointments, post 3 pm. The officials concerned have allegedly even removed display boards stating the same. The Chief Secretary’s Office, however, cannot seek a reply as no formal complaint has yet been filed yet.It has been more than three months since the formation of the state government, but the ministers in the Shinde-Fadnavis government barely work from their office in the Mantralaya. Ministers and their staff had opted to work from their bungalows and private residences for reasons best known to them; and it was only the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister who were regularly present at the Mantralaya, while the ministers only attended the state Cabinet meetings.Days before the major Indian Police Service (IPS) transfers, a common trend nowadays has been the lists of the new postings being circulated on social media. The same was the case in the past week as well when two separate lists were circulated on social media, ahead of the impending Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank and above transfers. Generally, these lists do not have similarities with the eventual transfer orders. Many believe that it was done by the “well wishers” of officers who either try to portray themselves as front runners or stymie someone else’s chances by showing them in prominent postings.
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson, Swati Maliwal on Sunday condemned the objectionable statement by yoga guru and businessman, Baba Ramdev on women, calling his remarks “indecent.”Maliwal in a tweet said, “The remarks made by Swami Ramdev on women in front of the wife of the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra are indecent and condemnable. All women have been hurt by this statement, Baba Ramdev ji should apologize to the country for this statement!”महाराष्ट्र के उपमुख्यमंत्री जी की पत्नी के सामने स्वामी रामदेव द्वारा महिलाओं पर की गई टिप्पणी अमर्यादित और निंदनीय है। इस बयान से सभी महिलाएँ आहत हुई हैं, बाबा रामदेव जी को इस बयान पर देश से माफ़ी माँगनी चाहिए! pic.twitter.com/1jTvN1SnR7— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) November 26, 2022DCW Chair’s statement comes after Maharashtra State Women Commission on Saturday served a notice to Ramdev asking him to clarify his stand in three days.At a function in Thane on Friday, Ramdev said, “Women look good in sarees, women look good in salwar suits too, and in my eyes, they look good even if they wear nothing.”Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s wife Amruta and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s son and Lok Sabha MP Shrikant Shinde were present at the function.Opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday protested against the objectionable statement made against women by Ramdev. NCP’s women workers garlanded Ramdev’s photo with chappals.Slamming Baba Ramdev, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP, Mahua Moitra reacted sharply over his comments calling his “views lop-sided.”“Now I know why Patanjali baba ran away from Ramlila Maidan in women’s clothes. He says he likes sarees, salwars and …… Clearly got a strabismus in his brain that makes his views so lop-sided,” she said in a tweet.Now I know why Patanjali baba ran away from Ramlila Maidan in women’s clothes. He says he likes sarees, salwars and ……Clearly got a strabismus in his brain that makes his views so lop-sided.— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) November 26, 2022Ramdev hasn’t issued a statement yet, even after the comments have drawn flak from groups and individuals.
MUMBAI: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Sunday demanded that the Centre take immediate action against Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai for allegedly making statements that were disturbing peace in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Earlier this week, Bommai had claimed that 40 villages in Jat taluka of Sangli district in Maharashtra had passed a resolution in the past to merge with Karnataka, and said that Kannada-speaking areas of the state such as Solapur and Akkalkot should join Karnataka. Read AlsoMaharashtra's border dispute petition lacks legal sanctity, says Karnataka CM Basavaraj BommaiChief minister Basavaraj Bommai said the petition filed by Maharashtra regarding the border dispute with Karnataka does not have any legal provision, since it was filed on the basis of the State Reorganisation Act and Article 3 of the Constitution. "Karnataka is fully prepared for an effective legalBommai also condemned the alleged incidents of painting of Karnataka buses with pro-Maharashtra slogans and appealed to the Eknath Shinde government to take immediate steps to stop this. NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto said, "Yes, action should be taken against people who caused problems to the buses. But in that case, action should also be taken against Bommai because his unwanted statements on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue seem to have influenced the minds of some people who are taking law into their hands and causing disturbance." Crasto in a statement said the Karnataka chief minister should not have raked up a sub-judice matter and gone a step further by saying that he would claim other districts of Maharashtra as well. "His statements over the last few days are hurting the sentiments of people and making them express their feelings negatively," the NCP leader said. The Central government must take immediate action against Bommai for making statements that disturbed peace in both the states, he said. ''Why is the BJP's central leadership not asking Bommai to refrain from making such statements? Do they agree with what he said?" Crasto said. The Maharashtra government has appointed cabinet members Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai as nodal ministers to coordinate with the legal team regarding the court case on the border dispute with Karnataka. Maharashtra, since its inception in 1960, has been locked in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (also called Belagavi) district and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages, which are part of the southern state. Maharashtra has staked claim over the Marathi-speaking areas and the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
In December 2002, the Congress, which had governments in several states, had at least six state chief ministers and several national leaders flown into Gujarat to campaign for the Assembly polls.The elections were being held in the backdrop of the Godhra train burning and the riots, followed by the Akshardham terror attack which investigators had said was “revenge” for the riots. Narendra Modi, then the chief minister, had earned the sobriquet of “Hindu Hriday Samrat (ruler of Hindu hearts)”. He led a Gaurav Yatra across the length and breadth of the state, his speech largely targeting the minorities and the Congress’s president of “Italian origin”.The events of that election added up to a “Hindutva wave” leading the BJP to win 127 of 182 seats, its best performance so far. The Congress’s “carpet bombing” of netas — Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, Maharashtra’s Vilasrao Deshmukh, Karnataka’s SM Krishna, Chhattisgarh’s Ajit Jogi, Madhya Pradesh’s Digvijaya Singh and Delhi’s Sheila Dikshit — created an atmosphere in the party’s favour, but did not help the party return to power. In the two-way contest, the Congress won 51 seats, two going to Independents, and two to the Janata Dal (United).While the BJP’s “carpet bombing” in Gujarat in the past two weeks may resemble the Congress’s 20 years ago, the former has many strategic layers. The new feature in 2022 being the huge number of campaigners brought in from Uttar Pradesh, a state that has had a deep link with Gujarat since the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, and where the BJP won the Assembly election in March riding on the slogan of “double-engine sarkar”.For the first time, an army of at least 160 BJP leaders and workers have landed from Uttar Pradesh to campaign in Gujarat, right from MPs to district-level leaders that UP leaders say is the biggest deployment so far. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched his campaign from Wankaner near Morbi on a stage flanked by JCB backhoes, banners describing him as “Hindu Hriday Samrat” and crowds hailing him as “bulldozer baba”. He has now conducted several rallies. While Adityanath aggressively argues in favour of the “Gujarat model” for the country in his speeches, on the ground in Gujarat, it is the UP model playing out. Apart from flower-bedecked backhoes being placed at Adityanath’s rally venues, and the campaign riding on the double-engine Sarkar slogan, the BJP manifesto now has also promised to enact the UP-like Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Properties Act that the state ratified last year.All-star campaigns have been carefully planned out. For instance, Adityanath has addressed rallies in constituencies that the BJP won or lost by narrow margins or seats with a sizable number of Muslim votes. He also did roadshows on seats such as the Patidar-dominated Varachha in Surat and Viramgam in support of candidate Hardik Patel. In Dwarka, where CM Bhupendra Patel and Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi have earned adulations from Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the demolition of properties last month on Bet Dwarka island — mostly belonging to minorities and seen as a copy-paste of the UP model — Adityanath was almost deified by the BJP candidate Pabubha Manek during the rally. UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya has also been holding meetings in areas of Gujarat where migrants from the Hindi heartland have been residing.An MP from Sitapur district who was part of the campaign pointed out how the campaign also covered communities such as house painters. “There are at least 500 families doing colour kaam in Ahmedabad who are from Sitapur,” said the leader. “We don’t want a new front to rise,” said a BJP leader from UP, referring to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).According to Sitapur district president of the Bhajpa Pichhda Varg Morcha (BJP OBC cell), Ramjivan Jaiswal, “From UP, 162 BJP workers have been camping here since September and will be here till the election process concludes.”In 2014, the BJP sent a huge group from Gujarat to Varanasi, mostly Brahmin and Patidar leaders, to reach out to their respective communities and campaign for Modi who was the prime ministerial candidate at the time. Arvind Kejriwal, then having quit as Delhi chief minister after 49 days, contested from the seat but lost to Modi. Former Gujarat MoS (Home) Gordhan Zadaphia was made the party’s UP in-charge in 2018 for the Lok Sabha elections the following year.The MP from Uttar Pradesh recalled how the Gujaratis influenced the UP campaign. “It would be very difficult to cover women in door-to-door campaigns as the women would be in purdah and run indoors when our people came to their homes. But when Gujarati women came, they not only covered them in the campaign, but they also conducted a successful rally of women- which is unprecedented for UP.”Before the blitzkrieg of netas, Zadaphia, who is now the number two in the Gujarat BJP after its president CR Paatil, planned a Gujarat Gaurav Yatra across 144 constituencies across five routes. The one passing the tribal belt, which was also the longest, was called the “Adivasi Gaurav Yatra”. “This yatra was different from the others as it kept the city areas out and unlike the earlier yatra that was led by one leader, this had several national and state leaders,” said Zadaphia.Add to all this Modi’s back-to-back rallies, averaging three a day, with a roadshow weaved in. Modi’s rally on Sunday in Surat’s Patidar area of Varachha, where the AAP is giving a tough fight, will be preceded by a 15-km plus roadshow. Kejriwal is also pumping iron and will hold a townhall meeting in the diamond city the same day. The new fighter has also deployed every weapon in its armoury in Gujarat, as has the BJP its “Brahmastra” — a description Paatil used for Modi over a month ago in a media interaction.As a BJP minister said, “This election is a semi-final of 2024 even for the saamnewala (Opposition).”