The Indian Express | 5 days ago | 22-09-2022 | 03:45 am
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday hit out at Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, questioning hiscommitment to Hindutva while alluding that he had turned secular.“I was criticised for visiting Ganesh mandals during Ganesh festival. I used to visit the mandals even before becoming the chief minister and I continue to do so even today. It was me, who forced others to go for such darshans.But what about you? Have you become so secular that today you do not even call your father Balasaheb Thackeray Hindu Hriday Samrat (ruler of Hindu hearts),” Shinde asked Thackeray while addressing a gathering at the Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi.Shinde was addressing the state unit chiefs of his faction who were called for a meeting organised by Lok Sabha MP Rahul Shewale.Attacking Thackeray, Shinde said that the Sena is not a private limited company but the party that runs on the thoughts of the Sena founder.“We are not gaddar (traitors). We are the true soldiers of Balasaheb Thackeray. You call us a gang who is snatching someone else’s father. Should I call you the one who is selling your father’s ideology by aligning with Congress and NCP?” asked Shinde.The CM was referring to Thackeray’s speech at Nesco ground in Mumbai on Wednesday, where the Sena president taunted Shinde of attempting to snatch his father’s legacy.Shinde said, “Our leader Balasaheb Thackeray had said that if time comes to ally with Congress and NCP, he will close the party (Sena). But the desire for power overrode everything and an alliance was formed with Congress and NCP.”Taunting Thackeray that he never met party leaders in the two-and-a-half years when he was the state’s chief minister, Shinde said that it was his revolt that has made Thackeray talk to Sena workers.State ministers Sandipan Bhumare, Deepak Kesarkar and Uday Samant joined Shinde in his visit to Delhi along with LokSabha MPs who have supported him after his revolt against Thackeray.Shinde called Sena leaders from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Puducherry, Kerala, West Bengal, Manipur and Tripura to Delhi for the gathering at Maharashtra Sadan.
MUMBAI: As part of a new team set up by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and based on the concept mooted by PM Narendra Modi to study 'best practices' in various states, Maharashtra industries minister Uday Samant and forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar visited Gujarat on Monday. The two ministers met Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel and studied the Gujarat government's 'CM Dashboard' for tracking activities of government departments at the click of a button. "The Gujarat CM's dashboard model is good for the public and the bureaucracy and for development, so we studied how it works and how it was made. We did a detailed examination about manpower and technology. This dashboard model should not be limited to Gujarat, it should also be implemented in Maharashtra and other states as it helps solve people's problems. People get a call from the CMO (chief minister's office). If we can replicate this in Maharashtra and other states, we can try for an upgraded version. We have finalised that this model should be implemented in Maharashtra," Samant said. Samant and Mungantiwar's visit comes weeks after the Vedanta-Foxconn chip manufacturing project shifted to Gujarat. An official said after PM Modi mooted the idea of studying best practices, Shinde set up a four-member team led by Mungantiwar, Samant and bureaucrats Jayashree Bhoj and Vikas Kharge. The team, which began its study tour with the first stop in Gujarat, will soon visit MP, among other states. On the Vedanta-Foxconn project, Samant said, "I spoke to the Gujarat industries minister, who said their deal was already on for a while. They had rolled out an incentive package. (Vedanta chairman) Anil Agarwal wanted a meeting of the high-powered committee, which did not happen in Maharashtra for a long time, so he decided to move to Gujarat."
MUMBAI: Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday launched the ABHA (Ayushman Bharat digital health account) card. "All the health-related information of the patient will be recorded in this unique health card. So, I request you all to register for this card," CM Shinde said in a tweet. According to officials, it will be a single health card, and patients can share this card with doctors and insurance companies. Citizens can apply for the ABHA card online through their Aadhaar card or a driving licence.
MUMBAI: An eight-storey building by the seafront where built-up space is about three times what was sanctioned: the FSI (floor space index) was for 745 sq mts while the Rane residence had used up FSI for 2,249 sq metres. That's the extent of irregularity that was sought to be legalised by paying for additional development rights. Now that courts have rejected the request, there are no options but to tear down the illegal portions on every floor. According to experts, given the scale on which demolitions have to be undertaken, an experienced engineer or a structural adviser would have to be present to supervise work. In a case of partial demolition (within structures), it has to be done manually by labourers to avoid damage to the overall edifice, according to structural expert Satish Dhupelia. "It starts from the top starting with the slabs, then the beams and finally the columns,'' he said. "A partial demolition must be done carefully so that the other portions of the structure are not affected," he added. So how much time does it take? "It depends on how much labour you deploy," said Dhupelia. Union minister Narayan Rane's firm Kaalkaa Real Estates Pvt Ltd which owns the building has been granted three months by the Supreme Court to carry out the work. Former opposition leader in BMC Ravi Raja said the Supreme Court ruling only shows that everyone is equal before the law. "He has also got favourable time for demolition. Any other common person would have been made to demolish it immediately without any delay," said Raja. As per the Supreme Court order, BMC has the liberty to take action as per law after the three-month deadline is over. A civic official pointed out that time required to knock down the illegal portions "would all depend on the kind of men and machinery involved and the speed at which work is being carried out," said the official. Another civic officer said in such cases, the time taken is more if the owners carry out the demolitions themselves. "They tend to do it slowly, they are more careful," he said. Former Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar, a member of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, said Rane being a Union Minister should accept the decision of the Supreme Court. "We all have faith in our judiciary and therefore the decision given by it should be accepted by everyone and especially Rane who is a Union minister and also former chief minister," said Pednekar.
The increase in the visibility and profile of Nitish Kumar in national politics ever since he dumped the BJP and joined hands with Lalu Prasad has spotlighted the OBC Kurmi community to which the Bihar Chief Minister belongs. Kurmis are a smaller community than Yadavs, and they have not always had a cordial relationship. But the political aspiration of Kurmis has spiked in recent weeks — Yadavs for the first time appear willing to accept them as “elder brothers” — and if the bonhomie between Nitish and Lalu continues, the BJP might need some new social engineering manoeuvres in Bihar and UP soon.The communityKurmis are a landowning farming community whose status varies from place to place. The People of India series edited by K S Singh refers to Kurmis as “progressive farmers” who “avail of maximum benefits of all the development schemes available in the area and region”.Unlike Yadavs, Kurmis use a wide variety of surnames like Patel, Verma, Sachan, Gangwar, Katiyar, Baiswar, Jaiswar, Mahto, Prasad, Sinha, Singh, Pradhan, Baghel, Chaudhary, Patidar, Kunbi, Kumar, Patil, Mohanti, Kanaujiya, Chakradhar, Niranjan, Patanwar, and Shinde, etc.Some Kurmi surnames are used by other communities as well, making it difficult to identify a Kurmi by name alone. Sometimes they use no surname at all.Kurmis are distributed across several states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Goa, and Karnataka. Besides Nitish in Bihar, the Congress chief minister of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, is also Kurmi.Their caste statusIn most states, Kurmis belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in both the central and state lists for reservations.In Gujarat, Patels, who are linked to Kurmis, are in the general category, and have been demanding OBC status. In West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand — where Kurmi is written as ‘Kudmi’ — Kurmis want to be included among Scheduled Tribes.Representation in govtNo data are available on the representation of various sub-castes in government jobs. But in 2018, the Justice G Rohini Commission set up to sub-categorise OBCs analysed data on 1.3 lakh central jobs given under the OBC quota over the five preceding years, and OBC admissions to central higher education institutions including universities, IITs, NITs, IIMs and AIIMS over three years, and reportedly found that the main beneficiaries were Yadavs, Kurmis, Jats (Jats in Rajasthan, except those in Bharatpur and Dholpur districts, are in the central list of OBCs), Sainis, Thevars, Ezhavas and Vokkaligas.The Indian Express has reported earlier that the analysis found that while Yadavs have significant representation in the security forces and police etc, Kurmis, particularly from UP and Bihar, have got better representation in the civil services, and in medical colleges and universities.Kurmis in BiharIn Bihar, UP, Odisha, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh, Kurmis constitute a significant political force. In pre-independence Bihar, a political front called Triveni Sangh formed by a Yadav (Jagdev Prasad Yadav), a Kurmi (Shiv Pujan Singh), and a Kushwaha (Yadunandan Prasad Mehta) leader took part in the 1937 elections.Shiv Pujan Singh had a wide following among his castepersons. Prominent Kurmi leaders from Bihar (including Jharkhand) in later years include former MP and Governor Siddheshwar Prasad; former MP and a founder leader of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Binod Behari Mahto who sought to link Shivaji with the Kurmis of North India through an organisation called Shivaji Samaj; and Satish Prasad Singh, who became the first Kurmi chief minister of Bihar in 1968, albeit for just four days.The Yadav leadership of Bihar’s OBCs was established by Chief Ministers B P Mandal and Daroga Prasad Rai before Lalu’s decade-long dominance, which was ultimately ended by Nitish Kumar. After the rise of Lalu and Mulayam Singh Yadav in Bihar and UP respectively, the Kurmis in these states aligned with upper castes to give themselves a political leg-up. Nitish in particular utilised the dislike for Yadavs in North India to tie up or break with the BJP as and when he wished.Kurmis in UPThe BJP’s predecessor, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), promoted OBC leaders before their leadership passed to Chaudhary Charan Singh who broke with the Congress to form the Jan Congress (which later became the Bharatiya Kranti Dal, Bhartiya Lok Dal, etc). The finance minister in Charan Singh’s first government in UP (April 1967) was an Ambedkarite Kurmi from Kanpur called Ram Swarup Verma. Another prominent Kurmi leader of the decades of the 60s and 70s in UP was Jairam Verma.No Kurmi has become chief minister of UP so far. Beni Prasad Verma was considered number 2 to Mulayam in the Samajwadi Party for several years. He joined the Congress for a few years and became a Union Minister in the UPA-II government. Subsequently, Sonelal Patel, a Kurmi leader, left the BSP and formed the Apna Dal, the two factions of which are now led by his two daughters, Union Minister Anupriya Patel and SP MLA Pallavi Patel. Pallavi and her mother Krishna Patel are trying to strengthen ties with Nitish Kumar in UP.The number of Kurmis in the UP Assembly is currently 41, a record high, up from 34 in 2017. Kurmi leaders contesting on SP tickets defeated three ministers of the Yogi Adityanath government. From the BJP, 22 Kurmis won the elections. This is the second straight Assembly in UP in which Kurmis outnumber Yadavs, even though the number of Yadav MLAs increased from 17 in 2017 to 25 in 2022. The UP presidents of both the SP and BJP, Naresh Uttam Patel and Swatantra Dev Singh respectively during the Assembly elections, were Kurmis.There is no current data, but a Social Justice Committee set up by then Chief Minister Rajnath Singh in June 2001 estimated that OBCs constituted 43.13 per cent of UP’s population, of which Yadavs were 19.4 per cent and Kurmis 7.46 per cent.Nitish has long been seen as having national political ambitions, and Lalu’s family, struggling with allegations of corruption, appears to have happily accepted the leadership of Lalu’s “chhota bhai”, at least for now. What impact this has on electoral outcomes in UP, however, remains to be seen.
MUMBAI: Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray's close family aide Champa Singh Thapa, often described as Balasaheb's 'shadow', on Monday threw in his lot with CM Eknath Shinde's group. Another Balasaheb aide Moreshwar Raje, who had served Thackeray at his residence 'Matoshree' for almost three decades, joined the Shinde faction too. "Champa Singh Thapa, who is considered the shadow of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray, and Moreshwar Raje, who served for a long time on Matoshree, announced their decision to support us," Shinde tweeted. Thapa, Man Friday to the Sena patriarch, had served him for 27 years till his death in November 2012. He was always seen standing behind Thackeray at public rallies and during press conferences. After Thackeray's death, Thapa began working for Uddhav Thackeray and was also seen at public meetings with him. Thapa didn't say if he wasn't happy with the way Uddhav was leading Sena. "I have always shadowed Balasaheb and will now shadow Shinde as I liked his thoughts. I was in touch with Matoshree and Uddhav saheb over the years but now I like Shindeji's thoughts and so came to extend my support to him," said Thapa. Shinde said the duo decided to join as his factionrepresents the "real" Shiv Sena and is taking forward the teachings of the Sena founder and his Hindutva ideology. "Balasaheb used to do straight talking and used to be blunt. People knew Balasaheb well and hence they did not accept Sena's alliance with Congress and NCP under the Maha Vikas Aghadi." Asked about speculation that five MLAs and MPs were poised to join his group, Shinde said: "Many people are in touch with many but I am not aware as of now of anyone joining us." Sena veterans said Raje used to attend to phone calls at Matoshree for Balasaheb, and had spent at least 35 years in the Thackeray residence. Thapa, who is from Nepal, was treated as a member of the Thackeray household, said Sena insiders. "After the death of Thackeray's wife Meenatai in 1996, Thapa's responsibility increased a lot. It was he who took care of Balasaheb, from meals to medicines. Thapa was so close he also participated in Balasaheb's last rites along with the rest of the family," said a Sena functionary. Thapa had also set up Shiv Sena's Nepal unit and had become a celebrity in the Nepalese community in the city.