Ndtv | 2 weeks ago | 11-09-2022 | 10:10 pm
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government collapsed in June this year. (FILE)Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has hit out at former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying that his style of functioning was responsible for the split in the Shiv Sena.He also admitted that believing senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar was his "biggest" political blunder, and added that in order to take revenge for the back-stabbing, it was important that one lives long.After the 2019 Assembly election results, Mr Fadnavis and Mr Pawar had taken oath as the state Chief Minister and deputy Chief Minister, respectively, at a hush hush ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan in November that year. However, their government lasted only nearly 80 hours after Mr Pawar quit.Speaking at the CNN News18 Town Hall event on Saturday, Mr Fadnavis said only Uddhav Thackeray has to be blamed for the recent political turmoil in the state and it was his style of working that led to the split in the Shiv Sena.The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress collapsed in the last week of June this year after Sena MLA Eknath Shinde along with 39 other legislators revolted against the party leadership. Shinde was on June 30 sworn in as the chief minister, while Fadnavis took oath as his deputy."Only Uddhav Thackeray is responsible for the political debacle and crisis in Maharashtra. His working style is responsible for the Shiva Sena's split. Around 30-40 MLAs left the MVA alliance and he had no idea about it," Mr Fadnavis said."Uddhav ji used to say in his speeches - 'You can try to bring down my government'. I said - 'One day your government will come down and you won't even realise it'. And that is exactly what happened," the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader added.The BJP and Sena had contested the 2019 Assembly polls together. However, the Sena parted ways with the BJP following differences over sharing the chief minister's post. The Thackeray-led party then joined hands with the NCP and Congress to form the MVA government."Uddhav Thackeray made a mockery of the mandate. When we fought in alliance, at every gathering, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah said the Chief Minister will be from the BJP. Uddhav ji was also on stage and clapped. But when aspirations exceed capabilities, people make decisions," Mr Fadnavis said."We had earlier fought under (Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray's leadership for Hindutva and today they are calling Balasaheb, 'janab' Balasaheb Thackeray…publishing a calendar in Urdu…This type of appeasement was never done by the Shiv Sena," he added. Mr Fadnavis has been targeting the Sena, claiming that one of its party workers had printed a calendar in Urdu in which Bal Thackeray was addressed as "janab".The BJP leader, however, added that Mr Thackeray might be his political opponent, but they were not enemies."I can talk to Uddhav Thackeray even now, but it may be a non-political conversation. All things should not be viewed from a political angle only," he said.The former Chief Minister also trashed rumours of conspiracy at being given the deputy Chief Minister's post."My focus is Maharashtra, not Delhi…I believe that only the Opposition tried to cut me to size. My party and leaders were behind me. It's all conspiracy theory," he said.Mr Fadnavis said that believing Ajit Pawar was his biggest political blunder."When such things happen, it is important that you live long enough to take revenge for such political back-stabbing," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comTo a question about the BJP being accused of dividing the nation, he said his party dreams of a united India.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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.
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.