The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 24-11-2022 | 02:45 pm
The National Conference (NC) president and former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief minister Farooq Abdullah is set to be among the leaders of various mainstream political parties other than the BJP in J&K, who will join the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi when it enters the Union Territory (UT) from neighbouring Punjab early next year.“Dr Farooq Abdullah has assured us that he will join the Yatra at Lakhanpur, which is a gateway to Jammu and Kashmir, and walk with Rahul Gandhi up to some distance,’’ said the J&K Congress’s chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, who was part of a delegation of the All Parties United Morcha (APUM) which called on the NC chief at his residence in Jammu on Monday.“We will be contacting senior leaders of other political parties also, including Mehbooba Mufti, to urge them to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Sharma said.The APUM delegation comprising leaders from the Congress, PDP, CPI, CPM and International Democratic Party (IDP) along with some social organisations called on Abdullah to discuss the need for strengthening coordination among the Opposition parties in order to defeat “communal and divisive forces’’ in the UT.The APUM has also passed a unanimous resolution supporting the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Sharma said.The J&K Shiv Sena’s president Manish Sahni, however, said his party was yet to take a decision over the Yatra.With former MP Sheikh Abdul Rehman as its patron and IDP supremo I D Khajuria as its president, the APUM is an amalgam of nearly a dozen mainstream political parties and social organisations of J&K, which have been opposed to the BJP.The APUM’s constituent parties have been meeting among themselves to work out a consensus over a plan to check any division of non-BJP votes whenever the Assembly elections are held in the UT. The parties that attend its periodic meetings include the Shiv Sena too.The Congress had distanced itself from the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) headed by Abdullah in view of its key agenda being the campaign to seek restoration of J&K’s statehood and special status under Article 370 and Article 35A, which were abrogated by the BJP-ruled Centre in August 2019.However, the grand old party justifies its inclusion in the APUM which also mainly comprises of the PAGD constituents like the NC, PDP, CPI and CPM. Ravinder Sharma says that the APUM has been a meeting ground for all the mainstream Opposition parties and social organisations over the broader issues of restoration of J&K’s statehood, holding of early Assembly elections and putting up a joint fight against communal and divisive forces.Set up early last year by the Opposition parties, the APUM’s key avowed objective is to rally political organisations against the BJP in a bid to not let the saffron party take advantage of a split Opposition in the next Assembly polls.The APUM also does not want to be seen as “pro-Kashmir” in the predominantly Hindu inhabited areas of the Jammu division, which are seen as the BJP’s bastions.According to the APUM leaders, the body has left controversial issues like Articles 370 and 35A for its constituents to take their own respective positions on them. They pointed out that the nonagenarian leader Sheikh Abdul Rehman was a senior Jan Sangh leader and had been a confidant of Praja Parishad leader Pt Prem Nath Dogra. After Dogra’s demise, however, Rehman left the Jan Sangh amid its flaring internal politics, they said.Some leading APUM players like the Congress are pushing for having some sort of electoral understanding between themselves in order to avoid division of anti-BJP votes in J&K, especially in the BJP’s strongholds in the Jammu region.Several political observers, however, say that this strategy might not work in Jammu due to a widely-held perception that the APUM is virtually an off- shoot of the PAGD given that its key constituents are the NC and the PDP. Barring the Congress, the other members of the grouping, such as the Shiv Sena and the IDP, do not have much influence even in the Jammu region.
Good morning! Get your day started with the top reads from today’s edition.Gujarat, Himachal election results todayThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is looking to return to power for a seventh consecutive term in Gujarat, riding on the Narendra Modi-wave. All eyes, however, are on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is flying high after its win in the civic polls in Delhi, and hopes to create dents in the BJP bastion. A question remains over the Congress’s fate after its low-key campaign in the state.In Himachal Pradesh, meanwhile, exit polls have predicted a tight race between the BJP and Opposition Congress, with AAP’s bid falling short after it redirected its energies to the Gujarat elections.Head to indianexpress.com for live updates on the counting of votes, analysis and more.Here are five other stories you shouldn’t missThe role, however, comes with its own set of challenges — from an uphill task of selecting a mayor to tackling issues it attacked the BJP on.While the BJP has managed to perform better than exit polls had predicted, would it have retained its control over the MCD had it not been unified? Take a look at our analysis.The Congress, meanwhile, has won just nine out of 250 seats in the MCD, losing its hold over a city it once governed.2. The UP police thought it was a simple open-and-shut case. They believed that a 14-year-old girl, who went missing from her home in Aligarh, was killed and dumped over 90 km away in Agra by her neighbour. Little did the family and police know that the girl was now a married woman, a mother of two children, working mustard fields, attending weddings and religious functions at her new home in Hathras. A chance meeting with a katha vachak (storyteller) blew her cover and the police investigation.3. As tensions continue to mount along the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, the inter-state dispute was echoed in the Parliament on Wednesday. NCP member Supriya Sule accused Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai of “making ad hoc statements” and “conspiring to break Maharashtra”. Ruling BJP MPs from Karnataka took objection to her remarks and pointed out that the matter is in Supreme Court.4. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has unveiled its latest review of the monetary policy. In it, the RBI cut India’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth forecast for the current financial year, maintained the inflation forecast, and raised the repo rate by 35 basis points. Why has RBI taken this hawkish stand? What does the GDP forecast signify about economic recovery? Udit Misra explains. 5. FIFA World Cup 2022: After Morocco’s win over Spain, the team’s star player Achraf Hakimi tore away to the enclosure where his mother was seated. He climbed over the barricade and hugged her, tears rolling down the eyes of both. Not just Hakimi, you could see several other teammates in the embrace of their parents. In fact, parents of most of the Moroccan players are in Doha to watch their children play, many capping long journeys of hardship and pain. 🎧 Before you go, tune in to our podcast, ‘3 Things’: In today’s episode, we talk about the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka, Goldy Brar’s alleged detention and subsequent interview, and delay in Ayodhya Mosque after 2019 Supreme Court judgement.Until tomorrow, Sonal Gupta and Rahel Philipose
Will it be a seventh consecutive term in power for the BJP in Gujarat; how many seats will the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), flying high after its victory in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections on Wednesday, win; and what will be the Congress’s fate after it ran a low-key campaign?If the exit polls are anything to go by, the BJP is set to equal the Left Front’s record in West Bengal on Thursday while the Arvind Kejriwal-led party is not likely to cross 10 seats in the 182-member Assembly. The Congress, whose spirited campaign had brought down the ruling party’s tally to 99 seats in 2017, is expected to register its worst performance in Gujarat, with none of the pollsters giving the grand old party more than 51 seats.The BJP’s campaign blitzkrieg was centred around Prime Minister Narendra Modi who crisscrossed the state, making an emotional pitch to Gujaratis to “strengthen him”, the son of the soil. He addressed around 30 rallies and road shows, wrapping up the campaign with two roadshows and covering more than over 50 km in Ahmedabad city that is considered to be the BJP’s bastion. Union Home Minister Amit Shah was the second-most prominent campaigner for the party. He was in the state for almost two months, micromanaging the campaign and election strategy for the BJP. He also spent a considerable time in his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, finalising the candidate list and trying to pacify rebels.The BJP also deployed its heavy-hitters such as chief ministers Yogi Adityanath, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Pramod Sawant, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and national president JP Nadda for campaigning. The ruling party struck a balance between playing its Hindutva card — it raked up issues such as the 2002 riots and “love jihad”, and in its poll manifesto promised an anti-radicalisation cell and the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code — and its caste arithmetic.Unlike in 2017, when the Patidar quota agitation hit the party hard and benefitted the Congress, this time the BJP tried to get the caste calculus right. It dropped veterans and fielded at least 19 candidates who were originally from the Congress, emphasising “winnability” at the cost of some dissidence in its rank and file.AAP’s debutThe AAP put as much effort into its campaign as the BJP, with its convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann addressing almost as many rallies a day as Modi. With a debilitated Congress running a quiet campaign, the AAP succeeded in creating the perception that it is the main Opposition to the BJP. In a state where the BJP is overwhelmingly dominant, it projected itself as a better candidate to be a more vigilant Opposition than a deflated Congress.Kejriwal’s campaign was based on a call for change after decades of BJP rule and focused on pushing the Delhi school model, a set of “10 guarantees,” and the promise to take pilgrims to the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Though the party is expected by all to open its account, most likely it has to be content with having a foundation on which it can build for the future in a state that has never had a third front.Interestingly, both the Congress and the BJP found common ground in their Opposition to the AAP, saying that the noise it created is disproportionate to its strength and that history isn’t on Kejriwal’s side when it comes to a third front. Former CMs Shankersinh Vaghela who led the Rashtriya Janata Party and Keshubhai Patel who led the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) failed in building a third front in the state.Congress’s troublesIn 2017, the Congress was able to take advantage of the churning in the state resulting from the disenchantment of the Patidar community, farmers and traders with the BJP. Before the elections, it deputed its top leader Ashok Gehlot, the current Rajasthan CM, to Gujarat well in advance and allocated significant resources for campaigning.But this time, Rahul Gandhi, who led a major outreach and travelled across the state, was busy with the Bharat Jodo Yatra and visited Gujarat only for a day. Save Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, other top leaders of the party were absent. Though former Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia claimed that this strategy of running a grassroots campaign “helped the candidates focus on the real issues of price rise, unemployment, on which the BJP avoided a debate”, the exit polls showed this will likely fail and lead to a further shrinking of its footprint in a state where it has been out of power for more than three decades.
A bandh call has been given in the industrial city of Pimpri-Chinchwad on Thursday in protest against the controversial remarks of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and BJP spokesperson Sudanshu Trivedi. The call has been given by the NCP, Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress, VBA and at least 100 social and voluntary organisations.“Essential services, hospitals, ambulances, schools and colleges have been exempted from the bandh. The NCP, Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray, Congress, VBA, AIMIM and at least 100 organisations are supporting the bandh,” Maruti Bhapkar, one of the organisers of the bandh, said.Activist Manav Kamble said the bandh has been called to protest against the “insulting” remarks of Koshyari and Trivedi. “We want the Governor to be shifted out of Maharashtra. The Governor has insulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj twice and it seems like there is a BJP conspiracy behind this,” he said.Bhapkar said the bandh will be enforced from 9 am to 5 pm. “All shops, industrial units, eateries and markets will remain closed to support the bandh,” he said.
A FEW days ago, on November 29, the Maharashtra government had announced completion of 100% vaccination of cattle in the state against Lumpy Skin Disease. However, from that date onwards till December 5, the state has seen 2,018 animal deaths as per the data available with The Indian Express.So far, the state has seen 24,430 cattle deaths due to the disease since the outbreak in mid-September.The government claims that it has vaccinated 100% cattle, which is over 1.39 crore animals in the state. However, the Opposition has raised doubts over the vaccination claims of the state government.As per the data of state’s Animal Husbandry department available with The Indian Express, the cattle affected by LSD in the state till December 5 is 3,50,171, out of which 24,430 animals have succumbed to the disease. “We have vaccinated 100% cattle in the state. The total number of vaccinated animals is 1,39,41,581 and we believe the disease is under control,” said an official from the Animal Husbandry department.On November 29, Maharashtra government had issued a notification which said that 100% vaccination of the cattle is achieved in the state. It said that permission has been given to transport animals from the LSD-affected areas to those which are not affected by the disease and carry the certificate of vaccination. It also said the district collector can give permission for animal fair and sports in areas other than controlled ones.However, the Opposition Congress has contested the claims of the state government. “If 100% vaccination is complete, then why animals are still getting infected and dying due to this disease? The government had claimed that timely vaccination of animals does not lead them to death and despite that hundreds of deaths are recorded in the state daily,” said Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole.Patole claimed that the state government’s efforts to vaccinate animals are not fool-proof and the claims of 100% vaccination need to be checked once again.
The tension between the two BJP-governed states has escalated over the last fortnight against the backdrop of imminent hearing of the SC case on the border dispute. Karnataka also faces assembly polls in April-May 2023. Here are key points about the ongoing border row between two neighbouring states: Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis spoke to Union home minister Amit Shah on the phone on Wednesday, requesting his intervention on the issue. The border tension also echoed in Parliament with demonstrations from Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP MPs. In the Lok Sabha, NCP leader Supriya Sule asked for intervention from the Union home minister. Karnataka home minister Arga Jnanendra said the state will not allow any Maharashtra functionary to make provocative statements in Belagavi. Jnanendra’s warning comes in response to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and former Maharashtra CM Sharad Pawar saying he would travel to Belagavi in the next 48 hoursand meet with activists. Karnataka home minister Arga Jnanendra said police in both Maharashtra and Karnataka have held meetings and are working together to defuse tension on the border. Karnataka minister and minister in charge of Belagavi district, Govind Karjol, said the Maharashtra government and its functionaries need to understand that all states are under a federal structure and they must respect all parties. “Karnataka will not sacrifice an inch of its land,” said Karjol. He said Maharashtra politicians are trying to gain political mileage from raking up the border dispute. ‘End attacks, or trips to Karnataka will stop’ An outfit staged a protest outside Karnataka Bank in Nashik and Shiv Sena (UBT) workers blackened two Karnataka state transport buses on Wednesday. Maharashtra’s transporters said they would stop movement of trucks to Karnataka if the attacks on their vehicles don’t end. For peace, but no change in stand on row, says Bommai Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde said he had also spoken to his Karnataka counterpart Basavaraj Bommai. “I said there should be strong action against those who attacked vehicles from Maharashtra. And since the border issue is in Supreme Court, law and order should be maintained in both states,” Shinde said. Confirming the talk, Bommai tweeted, “We both agreed there should be peace and law and order should be maintained in both states since there is a harmonious relationship between people of both states. ” He added, “There is no change on our stand as far as Karnataka border is concerned. Legal battle will be pursued in SC. ” Sanjay Raut targets Shinde and Centre Saying the Shinde government was “impotent,” Shiv Sena’s (UBT) Sanjay Raut also targeted the Centre. “Vehicles would not have be-en attacked without support of Delhi. In 3 months, Maharashtra had been made a doormat of the Centre. ” He said Belgaum be made a Union territory. BJP state chief C Bawankule said, “Raut has been released after 3 months in jail. He has picked up language from other prisoners. ”