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Home » INFA, Round the States


Andhra Special Status


By Insaf


28jallikattuAndhra Pradesh takes a cue from Jallikattu protests in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Opposition leaders, student groups and even film actors among many others decided to up the ante for special category status for the State. They planned to launch a ‘peaceful protest’ like the Tamilians had in Marina beach and chose the beach in coastal city of Vizag to make their statement along with other parts of Andhra on Thursday last. However, the protestors didn’t realise that Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu too had become wiser following the Jallikattu protests and the violence in the aftermath. More importantly, he neither was game nor a player in the protests like his counterpart in Tamil Nadu. Obviously, with BJP as an alliance partner he chose to look the other way. Rather, it was decided to nip the agitation in the bud from day one.

The police thus put in place prohibitory orders across the State. Scores of youth were arrested as they tried to march towards RK beach in their silent protest: “Andhra Yuyatha” or Youth of Andhra. The YSR Congress party which had planned to hold a candle light protest too was stopped short. No permission was given to hold meetings, rallies or processions. At best party chief Jaganmohan Reddy and his MPs managed to stage a sit-in on the apron at the Vizag airport before being packed off on the next flight to Hyderabad. He proposes his MPs would resign after Budget session and seek fresh mandate. Be that as it may, the movement for Special status would have to be fought differently. Naidu is in no position to mount pressure on the Centre like Tamil Nadu did. Coalition politics is a different ‘bull’ game altogether.

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Meghalaya Gov quits

Meghalaya and particularly its women must heave a sigh of relief. Governor V Shanmuganathan resigned on Thursday night. This after a section of Raj Bhavan employees had demanded his removal for “seriously compromising the dignity of the gubernatorial office” and women activists under Civil Society Women Organisation and Thma u Rangli launching a campaign. In an 11-point petition to President Mukherjee and Modi, a 100-odd staff had alleged that the Governor had shockingly turned the Raj Bhavan into a “young ladies club…It has become a place where young ladies come and go at will on direct orders of the Governor…Many of them have direct access to his bedroom…he has appointed two public relations officers, a cook and a nurse on night duty, all of whom are women…” et al. Further, a woman job aspirant accused him of making advances when she appeared for an interview. The 67-year-old RSS and BJP leader was appointed Governor by the Modi government in May 2015. It must be pink with embarrassment and asked him to put in his papers rather than being sacked. No saving grace though.

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Maharashtra’s Political Divorce?

Will Maharashtra see the end of a 25-year-old relationship? Well, Shiv Sena proposes to do just that with partner BJP. On Thursday last, chief Uddhav Thackeray proclaimed a break of the alliance in the upcoming civic polls and exhorted his cadre: “If you promise to stand by me, I have taken the decision to go solo in Maharashtra.” So will it be, next month when 10 municipal corporations including Mumbai, Pune, Thane, and Nagpur, 25 Zilla Parishads and 283 Panchayat Samitis go to polls. Apparently, the Sena-BJP talks over seat sharing broke down after the former offered only 60 seats to the BJP out of 227, which the latter saw as an ‘insult.’ Interestingly, Thackeray doesn’t want to rock the boat in the State Government and New Delhi, where it shares power. Obviously, he wants to have the cake and eat it too. The battle, he roared, is on and he will “not survive on someone’s leftover.”  Importantly, BJP is not blinking and Chief Minister Fadnavis has asserted ‘Change would certainly take place.’ Will there be a slip between the cup and the lip?

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Parrikar Over Modi In Goa

In Goa, the BJP has decided to put all its eggs in one basket—that of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s. In effect Prime Minister Modi’s charisma appears to fade against his in this State election. In a bid to retain power, the BJP has chosen to keep him as the face of the party, and there is already talk of his coming back as CM, if the party wins. In all this, present incumbent Laxmikant Parsekar has little choice but to restrict himself to his own constituency, Mandrem. He agrees that Parrikar is a good organiser and has a way with rebels by ensuring they don’t contest as independents. The other Central Minister from Goa, Shripad Naik too is keeping a low profile as against Parrikar, who is monitoring constituencies, addressing party cadre and deciding the tickets. Recall Parrikar is credited with having scripted the BJP’s revival in Goa in 2012. Will he be lucky again? His involvement now in Goa has raised speculation: which hat he would eventually wear post polls. The verdict of course must first spell victory.

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Bihar Vies For Legacy

The extremely backward classes (EBCs) in Bihar should be merrily amused. Former Chief Minister and socialist leader Karpoori Thakur’s birth anniversary on Tuesday last, saw all political parties vying with each other to champion his legacy. Obviously, the EBCs for whom life hasn’t changed would see the articulation as vote bank politics. At different functions, while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar declared that Thakur was the inspiration for the policy on prohibition and reservation in panchayats and judicial services, coalition partner RJD’s chief Lalu Yadav demanded he be conferred the Bharat Ratna. Not to be left behind, Opposition BJP has suggested raising the quantum of reservation to 60 per cent and claimed Thakur became twice CM only with Jan Sangh’s help.  Sadly, while every year functions are held to observe anniversaries of leaders, little is done to take forward their ideals. The Nitishs and Lalus can pay genuine respect only by developing the State, inclusive growth of its people and removing the tag of the most backward State. Enough of lip service & photo-ops!

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Of Ration & Toilets

If persuasion doesn’t work, then yield the stick. That’s how Madhya Pradesh’s distrit administration in Sheopur proposes to work. To achieve its aim of becoming “Open Defecation Free”, it has set the rules. Only if you have built a toilet at home will you get your ration, is its terse message to BPL card holders. Further, farmers have been told that they can sell their produce to the Government only if they promise to build the toilet. The District collector is not concerned whether the condition is practical or not as it sees the farmers as well-to-do and they must comply. Villagers were asked to take an oath that each household would have a toilet by January 26 and certificates would allow them to use the facilities. Of the 587 villages under 225 gram panchayats in the district, the Collector hopes to achieve his target with his diktat. However, there could be a hitch. With villages facing acute water shortage, how many of these toilets are actually used, would be worth a check. —INFA

(Copyright, India News & Feature Alliance)

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