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Round the States

By Insaf


Maharashtra Sermon

The BJP must be smarting under the rebuff in Maharashtra. Former President and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the RSS Shiksha Varg, an annual training camp, meant for swayamsevaks in their third year in the organisation in Nagpur had a cutting edge and gave the BJP and its ideological mentor the RSS a lesson in nationalism. At the same time, in Mumbai Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray turned down party chief Amit Shah’s olive branch. It seems the Opposition’s coalition bug has bitten the mighty BJP too, and it has launched its Sampark for Samarthan (contact for support) programme. However, Uddhav rubbished it and reaffirmed that his party will go it alone in 2019 and all future elections. The BJP may be red in the face with the sermon delivered by Mukherjee to the swayamsevaks. The criticism by many Congress leaders and his daughter too that former President faced initially has changed into a glee. BJP’s hindutava, though not mentioned, took a severe beating. Mukherjee minced no words and advised: “Any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogma and identities or religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our identity.” Far from giving credibility to the RSS, as was hoped by the organisers, the Congressman has put a bigger question mark on its brand of nationalism. Time to change for a ‘happy India’?

Telangana Policing

Telangana is policing the police. The bribes or protection money– hafta (weekly) or mamools (monthly) that cops pocket, is under the scanner. On Thursday last, DGP Reddy admitted to corruption by his men and sent a list of 395 along with numbers to all district SPs/police commissioners, who were reportedly collecting ‘mamools’ from businessmen in the State. These 395 included Police and Head Constables and Assistant SIs at various police stations. A firm warning was out: dishonesty won’t be tolerated, reassign the incorrigible to the nearest Armed Reserve headquarters without any powers. Reddy got information and evidence from the Intelligence department and victims. Further, an appeal was made to all owners of hotels, restaurants, wine shops, bars, lodges, business establishments, gaming zones, pubs, parlours, cafes, petty shops “not to give ‘mamools’ to any police officer/ staff. And anyone asking for bribe, tell us. Indeed a trend-setter if others too show the danda (stick).

Bengali Ambition 

West Bengal is eyeing New Delhi. That’s the buzz in the corridors of Writers Building. Having made her mark and that impressively in State politics, Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is looking at the bigger picture and of course greener pastures. Planning for 2019 General election is much underway and Didi needs to utilize her time and skills to the maximum. Thus, the grapewine has it that she has rearranged political responsibilities within the party. No more of every day administration for her. Cabinet colleagues, her party MPs and trusted lieutenants have been put into three brackets– national politics, State administration, and State-level party organisation to shoulder the responsibility. Her time will be devoted solely to strengthening and making new alliances with the anti-BJP forces. And it goes without saying selling the idea that she is the best bet to give Prime Minister Modi a run for his money. The big worry would be she doesn’t end up rubbing the other regional satraps the wrong way. Unpredictably, is what defines Didi


UP Saves Big Loss?

All is not well between the saffron-clad Baba and the Yogi. And Uttar Pradesh may turn out to be the looser. Baba Ramdev has been doing a flip flop with the proposed Rs 6,000-crore mega food processing project — ‘Patanjali Food & Herbal Park’ along the Yamuna Expressway. One day his team says project cancelled and a day later there is a rethink. Has the threat of pulling out given the Yogi Adityanath government jitters? And will it start cooperating and give the requisite clearances, “after sitting on these”, is the big question. More so, as Baba walking out would mean a big loss to the State’s exchequer and the people as Ramdev claims the plant would have produced Rs 25,000 crore worth goods annually and created 10,000 direct jobs! Yogi too is dithering as his team says Baba has already sought extension four times and is yet to fulfill a few conditions, including land and bank loans. But in the same breath it is willing to give a month more to Ramdev. While it’s anybody’s guess what’s the real issue, Yogi would have realized that UP’s loss could soon be another State’s gain!

States Plastic-Free Pledge

As the country played host to 2018 World Environment Day on Tuesday last, number of States did the expected – take a pledge. Thus, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Haryana and Maharashtra vowed to become plastic-free in line with this year’s theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”. While Uttarakhand has banned the use of polythene from July 31, the others were looking at next year. Tamil Nadu will ban use of plastic items like plates, cups, water packets, straws and non-biodegradable carry bags, from January 2019; Jharkhand is aiming at June 5 next year wherein ‘from office to house to bazaar to village, plastic should not be seen’; Nagaland eyes this December; Bengal simply pledges “make every day World Environment Day; Haryana will ban single-use plastic water bottles in all government offices; and Maharashtra is serious about its notification banning manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags in future. Time will tell, but they would do well to take a cue from Sikkim, which was the 1st State to ban disposable plastic bags in 1998! INFA

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