The Indian Express | 2 months ago | 28-11-2022 | 03:45 am
NAVNIRMAN SENA President Raj Thackeray Sunday hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks V D Savarkar during his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Maharashtra. The MNS chief questioned what is Rahul’s “stature to talk ill about Savarkar”.He also asked Congress and BJP to stop maligning national icons like V D Savarkar and Jawaharlal Nehru and instead focus on important issues facing the country. During his yatra, Rahul had stoked a row by claiming Savarkar had written mercy petitions to the British from the Andaman cellular jail. Highlighting Savarkar’s letter to the British, the Congress leader said it was a mercy petition.The MNS chief said it was not mercy or surrender but a part of a strategy Savarkar used. “…Are you worthy to talk ill about Savarkar? Have you seen where he was kept, what hardships he endured? It was not a mercy petition. There is a thing called a strategy,” Thackeray said, adding Savarkar was sentenced 50 years in jail, and it was part of his strategy to come out of prison and work for the country.
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.
Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis softening his stand on reintroducing the old pension scheme (OPS) for government employees is likely to put the ruling BJP in Karnataka in a tight spot as it struggles to take on the Congress in the run-up to the assembly polls.Fadnavis had rejected the demand last month, saying the government would need Rs '1.10 lakh crore to implement the OPS, potentially bankrupting the state. The BJP leader has, however, softened a bit, an about-face attributed to the political compulsions ahead of the assembly polls in Maharashtra next year.In Karnataka, the Congress, JD(S) and AAP have spoken sympathetically to government employees who resorted to a dharna in Bengaluru last month demanding restoration of the OPS. The state stopped the scheme on March 31, 2004. ET BureauCongress leader Siddaramaiah, a former chief minister, who has the distinction of presenting the state budget 13 times, met sections of agitating employees last month and promised to present their case before the party leadership.Karnataka will have an assembly election in about three months and the senior Congress leader's visit, last month, to the site where sections of government employees were staging a dharna, came after AAP leaders pledged their support. The AAP did it in Punjab, but the same promise did not make much impact in the recent Gujarat polls.In November, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai set up the seventh pay commission, seeking to increase the pay and perks of government employees. But within weeks, the employees' union was on the streets with its OPS demand, leaving the BJP in a tight spot. In Gujarat, the BJP won the polls with a massive majority in, though the Congress and AAP have switched to the OPS in states they are in power.Public finance experts suspect the Congress in Karnataka may be tempted to take a populist course as it has already implemented it in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where it is in power, and in Jharkhand, where it is a coalition partner. Siddaramaiah, who was the CM from 2013 to 2018, had recently said his regime's decision to implement the sixth pay commission recommendation cast an additional annual burden of '10,600 crore.CT Ravi bats for political consensus on OPSMeanwhile, BJP national general secretary CT Ravi, who is in-charge of Maharashtra, called for a national consensus by political parties on restoring the OPS in view of its impact on the state finances.Ravi told ET on Thursday that while a state's own ability should guide implementation of the OPS, it is nevertheless prudent for parties to discuss the subject and take a decision in national interest. On Fadnavis softening his stand on the OPS, the senior leader said the subject had not been discussed with him.Ravi said it would be better if all political parties placed the issue before a national body like NITI Aayog, discuss the subject comprehensively and take a call above party lines as competitive politics posed the danger of wrecking a state's finances.
The Congress on Monday demanded Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who has expressed the desire to quit, be sacked by the President and not allowed to quit while the Shiv Sena (UBT) faction took a dig saying "better late than never". The Congress and NCP, both members of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) along with Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction, also said Koshyari should have written to the President to discharge him of all responsibilities if he believed the position of the governor is Constitutional and not political one. Koshyari, who has been in the line of Opposition fire over his remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji and shared a tumultuous relationship with the Opposition, on Monday said he has expressed a desire before Prime Minister Narendra Modi to quit the post. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole alleged when MVA was in power (from November 2019 to June 2022), Koshyari's conduct and mentality as the governor was to break the Constitutional order. "Instead of writing a letter to the President to whom the position of governor is connected, Koshyari wrote a letter to the Prime Minister. He should not be relieved of his responsibilities but sacked from the post," Patole told reporters. He alleged Koshyari made objectionable statements against icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Savitribai Phule, Jyotiba Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar and has turned the Raj Bhavan into a Bharatiya Janata Party office. He said the Congress has been insisting on the removal of the governor over his controversial statements but the BJP was in agreement with the governor's opinion. "We request the President that the governor should be expelled. Do not let him go voluntarily," he added. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and spokesperson Arvind Sawant said Koshyari cannot be absolved of his extra-Constitutional acts. Sawant questioned the basis on which the governor had administered the oath to an "extra-Constitutional" chief minister, a reference to CM Eknath Shinde, last June. "It is better late than never," Sawant said. NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto tweeted, "Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra Mr. Bhagat Singh Koshyari ji surely knows that the position of a Governor is constitutional and not political. If he believed so, he would have written to the Hon'ble President of India to discharge him of all his constitutional responsibilities".
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Saturday praised Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, saying his contribution to the cooperative sector cannot be ignored. Shinde was speaking at the 46th annual general meeting of the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) in Pune, where Pawar shared the dais with him. Pawar is the chairman of the VSI. "Pawar is an experienced leader at the state and national level. His contribution to the cooperative sector is huge and cannot be ignored," the chief minister said. In the interest of the people and welfare of the state, Pawar is always available for guidance and suggestions to whoever is in power, he said. "He often calls me over the telephone to make suggestions and give advice," Shinde said. Notably, Shinde and his supporting MLAs had rebelled against Shiv Sena leadership and questioned party chief Uddhav Thackeray's decision of joining hands with the NCP and Congress to form a government in the state. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation headed by Thackeray collapsed following the rebellion and Shinde became the chief minister on June 30 last year. CM Shinde said the cooperative sector has played an important role in the country's development and realising its importance, the Centre has set up a separate ministry for the sector. "The central government has assured full support to the cooperative sector in Maharashtra," he said. Shinde also lauded the cooperative sector for following its social responsibility even during the time of crisis and not just focusing on profit or loss. The chief minister said his government was committed to protecting the interests of the cooperative sector. A total of 2.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation in the next few years, he said. Speaking on the occasion, Pawar said the need of the hour is to focus on the production of products other than sugar to strengthen sugar factories and make them economically strong. "Additional sugar should be used for ethanol production," he felt. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Shinde said the state government will provide good infrastructure and subsidies to investors seeking to set up industries in the state. "Investors in Davos expressed interest in India and Maharashtra and are confident that we are investor-friendly as there is a lot of scope for Investment," he said. Shinde also said that he would answer critics through his work. Speaking about Pawar, he said when the NCP chief was a union agriculture minister, he introduced several reforms in the sector and his contribution in the cooperative sector is immense. "I spoke what is true," he said.
As per the annual reports of political parties released by the Election Commission (EC) Tuesday, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shown total receipts of Rs 1,917.12 crore and expenditure of Rs 854.46 crore in Financial Year 2021-’22. It received contributions through electoral bonds to the tune of Rs 1,033.7 crore.The Congress in its annual audit report for Financial Year 2021-22 has shown its expenditure at Rs 400.41 crore and receipts of Rs 541.27 crore. It has shown grants, donations and contributions to the tune of Rs 347.99 crore.The 2019 to 2020 financial year, which saw the previous Lok Sabha polls, saw the highest income and spending by parties over the last five years. In this period, the BJP’s income touched Rs 3,623.28 crore, as per the Election Commission reports. That year, it declared its expenditure as Rs 1,651.02 crore. The Congress also saw its income go up to Rs 682.2 crore, while its expenditure was Rs 998.15 crore.Analysis of data over the last five years shows that there has been a fluctuation in the incomes and expenditures of the two parties. Besides the poll year, the BJP’s income in the year 2017-’18 was relatively high at Rs 1027.3 crore. The following financial year, 2018-’2019, it was the lowest at Rs 241 crore.A look at how the two parties income and expenditure fared in the previous years:BJP Income over the yearsCongress income over the years