Swachh Bharat : MISSION OR TAMASHA?…

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel October 4, 2014 09:45

Swachh Bharat : MISSION OR TAMASHA?…


Swachh Bharat

MISSION OR TAMASHA?

By Insaf

 Has the nation been ‘swept’ off its feet by Prime Minister Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan? An honest answer will be known only in 2019, i.e. whether in the next five years the goal of a clean India has indeed been achieved. A tall order alright, but the centre of power, Delhi chose to make a beginning with none other than Modi wielding the broom on Thursday last. He launched the Clean India campaign in the Valmiki colony, once home to Mahatma Gandhi. After decades perhaps, Central Government offices were open on Gandhi Jayanthi for the first half for ministers and bureaucrats to ‘sweep’ their areas and administer oath to their employees. Many State Governments too launched their own versions of the campaign, be it promising to build toilets, or launch sanitation-cum-awareness drives or a social media campaign or plastic removal drive et al. However, the Ministers and bureaucrats holding the jhadu and sweeping a ‘clean area’ appeared more of a photo-op. Was the campaign being turned into or viewed as a tamasha? Perhaps, their venturing into public toilets, or cleaning slum areas, or even streets with heaps of garbage would have given it the seriousness the issue deserves. A counter, however, is that at least a beginning has been made. The cleanliness bug has been put into millions of minds. Will it turn into an all-India fever?

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Karnataka, Bihar Wide Apart

Two temples, two States, two divergent approaches showcase an interesting side of India’s diversity. On the one hand, its three cheers to the century-old Kudroli Gokarnatheshwara temple in Mangalore, Karnataka for its forward thinking and action. The temple has appointed two Dalit widows as priests, perhaps a first in the country. This follows its earlier decision to appoint widows as priests. Not only has the temple shown the way forward for women empowerment but more importantly done away with the age-old caste system and sent a strong message that all are equal. On the other hand, Bihar is in the midst of an unsavoury temple controversy. While dalit leader and Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi has claimed that the Parmeshwari temple in Madhubani and its idol, “were washed after his visit” during the recent Assembly bypolls, his two colleagues have rubbished it. They have countered the claim saying the temple has no idol, the CM was overwhelmed by the reception he got and there was no caste discrimination in the Brahmin village of the temple. The CM would do better to learn from Mangalore than play Dalit politics.

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Chhattisgarh’s Novel Initiative

Chhattisgarh police have resorted to a novel way to fight its battle against the naxalites. The past month has seen the Police Natya Chetna Manch (PNCM), a group of 23 personnel, giving performances set to tunes of songs in local Gondi urging tribals to stop supporting the Maoists as it’s a futile exercise and instead come over to the Government side. This dance-drama campaign appears to have done well as against the police usual combat measures. Over 25 Maoists are said to have surrendered in Sukma so far, after the PNCM performed at market places in villages and towns. The message is simple: Maoists are exploiting the tribals for political gains and not allowing them to benefit from the Governments development funds…” The gap, feels the police is bridging. It’s a serious and not just making a song and dance about the initiative.

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Maharashtra’s Slanging Match

With Assembly elections less than a fortnight away, Maharashtra is in the thick of a slanging match between erstwhile partners, the NCP and the Congress. While the former has trained its guns on former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan accusing him of creating the situation for break in alliance, the latter has charged NCP for giving the State to the BJP on a platter by forcibly getting President’s rule imposed. Further, the Congress insists that the NCP has a tacit deal with the BJP and would go for a post-poll pact with it. While the two are in a no holds barred campaign against each other, the BJP and the Shiv Sena are showing considerable restrain against each other. While the two exude confidence of forming the Government on their own, both are treading carefully. The campaign should not be too dirty to muddy the waters for a post-poll patch-up. A ready pointer is the Shiv Sena doing a U-turn and not coming out of the NDA. Its lone minister Ananth Geete stays put for the time being. Wonder what the voter makes out of it all. Will he be able to see through the game plan?

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Tamil Nadu In Grief

Much of Tamil Nadu continues to grieve over former Chief Minister Jayalalitha’s fate. Loyalist O Paneerselvam who took over as Chief Minister for the second time along with his other ministers couldn’t hold back tears at the oath-taking ceremony. AIADMK cadres and supporters took to the streets after the damning verdict. The State has witnessed six suicides so far. The Tamil Nadu film industry has come out in full strength to protest against the conviction by the Bangalore court. In Delhi, 45 AIADMK MPs observed a fast in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament complex, demanding justice for Amma. While Jayalalitha seeks immediate bail and challenges her sentence on grounds that the charges of amassing wealth against her were false, the future is uncertain. However, that is not to say that her political career is over. Far from it, de facto power will be exercised from prison for sure, if her bail plea is rejected and her conviction not stayed. The AIADMK supremo, however, will do well to rein in her cadres and ensure that the rule of law is allowed to take its course. It would be unwise to believe in posters calling her “goddess of justice.”!

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UP’s Dowry Check

Bachelors in Government jobs in Uttar Pradesh better watch out. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has embarked on an ambitious programme to do away with the scourge of dowry. A circular of the Social Welfare Department has made it mandatory for bachelors to file an affidavit pledging that they will not demand dowry. And, if the head of department finds non-compliance then the bachelor faces the risk of losing his job. In addition, government employees getting married “will not be allowed to take any cheques, fixed deposit or any other costly items from the in-laws”. Not even if it is the bride’s name. The order obviously seeks to curtail the high dowry demand, which runs into lakhs of rupees, from to-be grooms employed in Government service. Will the winds of change in the country’s Hindi heartland blow across to other States? —INFA

(Copyright, India News & Feature Alliance)

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel October 4, 2014 09:45