The subtext in the Vedanta-Foxconn row: The age-old Maharashtra vs Gujarat tussle

The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 16-09-2022 | 07:45 pm

The subtext in the Vedanta-Foxconn row: The age-old Maharashtra vs Gujarat tussle

ONE OF the reasons the controversy over the mega Vedanta-Foxconn project, headed for Maharashtra but going to Gujarat instead, is unlikely to die down soon is the old wounds between the two states.They have often bickered over attracting investments and FDI, with non-BJP leaders in Maharashtra fanning apprehensions that the fact that the top two in the BJP — Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah – are from Gujarat, tilts the scales heavily in favour of the latter.Maharashtra leaders rattle off many such examples where Gujarat, once considered the “junior” partner, having been carved out of the larger Bombay State, has sneaked ahead of its counterpart.Like when Maharashtra planned an International Financial Services Centre at its commercial hub of BKC in Mumbai. In 2014-15, the project was in an advanced stage, with areas earmarked for it, when Gujarat rolled out GIFT City, a business district. Later, in 2017, PM Modi announced his flagship bullet train Ahmedabad-Mumbai project, and land required for it included some belonging to the BKC.More recently, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari left many feathers ruffled when he said: “Sometimes I tell people that if the Gujaratis and Rajasthanis are taken away, Mumbai will lose its financial status. There will be no money left in Mumbai and Thane.”There were protests cutting across party lines to the remarks, including from BJP ranks.More From Political PulseBJP gets a Sikh face, on many counts, Amarinder Singh a good fitCapt Amarinder Singh: ‘Bhagwant Mann not being allowed to function … Anything important is sent to Kejriwal’Party-hopping in Goa: ‘Family Raj & UT mentality’ among factors influencing votersClick here for more Mumbai itself remains a contentious issue between the two states. Before Gujarat and Maharashtra were created out of the Bombay State on May 1, 1960, on linguistic lines, there was debate over where Mumbai, or Bombay as it was called then, should go.Between 1956 and 1960, the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement led by veteran Communist and socialist leaders held protests to ensure that Bombay, which was largely Marathi-speaking, remained with Maharashtra. Almost 105 people lost their lives in the agitation in police firing, and a stone statue at Hutatma Chowk in Mumbai’s Flora Fountain is a stark reminder of that protest.CPI leader Prakash Reddy says, “While the capitalists always favoured a separate Mumbai, the credit for it going to Maharashtra goes to the common struggling class people, who took to the streets during the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement.”Congress leader Hussain Dalwai, who was closely associated with leading socialist leaders, says, “Mumbai has always embraced people across classes, communities or religions. But it is the hidden agenda of some segments to break it.”While time has healed much of the Gujarat versus Maharashtra rancour, the fault lines remain. Particularly, as for parties seeking power in the state, the Marathi and the Gujarati vote remains critical. Among the common citizenry, tension spikes over issues such as separate ‘vegetarian’ and ‘non-vegetarian colonies’ in the metropolis, with the Gujarati way of life projected as imposing on Maharashtra culture.The Shiv Sena rose to prominence presenting itself as the party of the “Marathi manoos”, while the Gujaratis are considered a vote bank of the BJP, especially since Modi’s rise.However, the Sena has largely kept the Gujaratis in good humour, even during its 1980s anti-north Indians campaign, when it accused migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar of taking away jobs in the service sectors.Gujarati leaders too have split their bets across parties, maintaining cordial relations with all, and content not stirring regional tensions, unlike some leaders from the North.But the latest row is expected to impact the coming elections to the BMC with the Gujarati vote estimated at around 17%, against 26-30% Marathis.Last year, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had announced an outreach plan to woo Gujaratis. The slogan coined by the Sena was: ‘Khao jalebi, fafda, Uddhav Thackeray appda ( Eat jalebi, fafda, but consider Uddhav Thackeray yours)’, a message that Gujaratis could keep their way of life with the Sena. It will be interesting to see its messaging now, particularly as its breakaway faction led by Eknath Shinde is a ruling ally of the BJP.Some time ago, Fadnavis had accused the non-BJP parties of “deliberately raising the bogey” of separation of Mumbai from Maharashtra. “But people know that Modi and Shah are always working for the welfare of Mumbai and Maharashtra,” he had said.This will be a hard sell now in the light of the Vedanta-Foxconn row. The Opposition, for one, will point out that it was Fadnavis who as CM in his last tenure in government promised Maharashtra a $1 trillion economy.

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Timely decision helped curb lumpy skin disease deaths, says Vikhe-Patil
Times of India | 8 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 08:40 am
Times of India
8 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 08:40 am

Kolhapur: State animal husbandry and dairy development minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Monday said timely intervention by the state government helped in keeping a check on deaths of cattle infected by the lumpy skin disease in Maharashtra, unlike in non-BJP ruled states like Rajasthan and Punjab.Vikhe-Patil was on tour of Kolhapur and Sangli districts on Monday where he visited the epicentres of the disease outbreak and interacted with the farmers. Speaking at Hatkanangle in Kolhapur, the minister claimed the low mortality rate was due to the proactivity of the state.“We have successfully managed to keep the death tally low in Maharashtra. The spread of lumpy skin disease is rapid and as many as 30 districts have been affected by it as on today. We have 1.5 crore cattle across the state and so far 800 have died due to the disease. Vaccination drive at a massive scale has helped in bringing down the mortality rate. We have so far vaccinated around 60 lakh cattle in the state and have 1.10 crore vaccines available with us,” Vikhe-Patil said.The BJP ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have also been badly affected due to outbreak of the infection. Gujarat is now among the states with high mortality rate, but Vikhe-Patil blamed the delayed response by the Rajasthan and Punjab governments as the the reason for the spread of the infection.“Rajasthan government showed laxity in handling the outbreak and around 65,000 cattle have died in the state. Punjab has reported around 30,000 deaths. Despite high number of cattle in Maharashtra we have managed to keep mortality rate low,” the minister said.Vikhe-Patil, a senior BJP leader, also slammed farmers’ leader Raju Shetti who has moved a petition with the Bombay High Court over the lack of serious steps taken by the state government against the disease.“He (Shetti) is a senior leader. He should get proper information from the government before making the epidemic a political issue,” Vikhe-Patil said.

Timely decision helped curb lumpy skin disease deaths, says Vikhe-Patil