Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Round The States


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By Insaf

India Bloc Unity MVA pact for better or worse?
Is it ‘one step forward, two steps back’ for Maharashtra’s MVA? After months of negotiations, the three partners finally made progress and sealed a seat-sharing pact on Tuesday. The INDIA bloc should be relieved with at least this united step forward, in the crucial state. But will it help achieve the cause — of defeating the common enemy, BJP, or will it put the partnership further behind in the numbers game they thought they had made progress? Notably, Congress ‘strategically stepped back’ and dropped its claims on a few ‘winning’ seats and went along with Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray reasoning of the need to be ‘magnanimous.’ Of the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies, SS-UBT managed the biggest slice with 21 seats, Congress 17 seats, and NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar 10 seats. While Congress has assured supporting MVA candidates, it must be keeping fingers crossed no rebellion takes shape in Mumbai, Sangli and Bhiwandi as discontent is said to be brewing among local leaders. Besides, five years back, Congress had got 26 seats in its seat-sharing with NCP, but today has had to give up bigger space to the allies.
The grand old party decided it was time to stop the back and forth and get down to campaigning as elections, in five phases, begin next week, April 19 till May 20. How it pans out is worth a watch as ‘entertainment’ is assured, not between breakaway SS and NCP groups (such as Ajit Pawar seeking support for his wife, against senior Pawar’s MP daughter in Baramati), but with MNS chief Raj Thackeray announcing his unconditional support for BJP-led ‘Mahayuti’ alliance, will address rallies in Modi’s support! While the alliance is happy as it lessens ‘possibility’ of vote cutting, MNS cadres are seeing red. Many have resigned in protest questioning Raj saheb’s U-turn after 2019 (a bitter critic of Modi since). Though the party hasn’t made a mark, Uddhav group takes an interesting dig saying an outfit ‘formed to safeguard Maharashtra pride backs its enemies.’ Applicable to it too, perhaps, but in the end it’s the voter who shall give the verdict as to who is their enemy.
Delhi’s ‘Agnipariksha’
The Delhi high political drama continues to hit front pages. Other than High Court upholding AAP Chief Minister Kejriwal’s arrest in liquor excise scam saying ED was left with “little option” after he skipped repeated summons, 24 hours later, his minister Raaj Kumar Anand resigned from both Cabinet and party. He alleged: ‘party is mired in graft and has no moral right to continue in government, and Dalits have no place in the party and feel cheated.’ Instead of rubbishing it, AAP reacted: his action has ‘vindicated’ our stand that Kejriwal’s arrest was aimed at ‘finishing the party’ and BJP was using ED and CBI to “break our ministers and MLAs” (though Anand denies any ED pressure). Indeed, it’s ‘agnipariksha’ for the AAP flock. Kejriwal has approached the Supreme Court pleading for urgent hearing for his release by declaring the case against him ‘illegal,’ claiming his arrest is “an unprecedented assault on tenets of democracy, free and fair elections and federalism, both of which form significant constituents of the basic structure of the Constitution.” Convincing or not?
Manipur mood in camps
A big question mark hangs over elections in conflict-ridden Manipur, particularly among the 50,000 internally displaced people in relief camps, of which 24,500 are voters. The N-E state which has boasted of 82% plus polling in 2019 elections, has several civil society groups asking the relevance of these elections and some even advocating a boycott. A common refrain being if the government can conduct polls during such times, surely it can find ways to bring peace and address people’s concerns, as the state continues to simmer after 11 months of the ethnic crisis. Reports originating say there’s ‘conspicuous absence of posters of political parties, mega rallies, and visible movement of leaders’ with elections next week (April 19) and 26. So far, only hoardings put up by local election authorities, urging citizens to exercise their franchise are visible. Will the State election office’s security arrangements with 200 companies of paramilitary forces, setting up of 94 special polling stations in relief camps and engaging in confidence building measures, change the mood and help heal wounds.
TDP No To Telangana
The Telugu Desam Party has decided to give Telangana a miss and concentrate on wresting back its turf in Andhra Pradesh. As a member of NDA, while TDP chief and former AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu finalised the seat-sharing formula for both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in AP, not only is it not going to put up candidates in Telangana but is yet to decide whom to support there. Apparently, the going has not been easy for TDP after Naidu was arrested by AP police last September in a skill development corporation corruption case and though he got regular bail in November to carry out political activities, there wasn’t time to prepare for Telangana Assembly polls. However, he promptly sounded the poll bugle for AP with the slogan “Quit Jagan, Save AP” and with his alliance now with BJP and JSP, urged the people to shower their blessings. His rival, YSR Congress Party President and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, has been equally aggressive in his campaign and claimed ‘2024 would be the last elections that TDP chief will fight’! Time will tell.
Qualms On Christian Prayer Meet!
BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh failed to play spoilsport for a prayer meeting of Christian community, thanks to the Supreme Court. The event in Indore under ‘National Prayer and Ministry Alliance’, had got initial permission but the administration revoked it after some Hindu outfits sought its cancellation. They complained it was being organised with ‘intent to mislead people of Hindu community and encourage them for conversion’ and there was ‘strong possibility it might disturb peace.’ The concerned police station submitted a report on the law and order situation and the High Court when petitioned against the cancellation, rejected it saying the concern raised by respondents can’t be said to be “unfounded, looking to various objections they have received from other religious organisations.” But, on Wednesday the top court stayed the cancellation saying it was “unjustified”, the petitioner ‘will be entitled to hold the prayer meeting at 5:00 p.m. today’ (April 10) and directed its registry to convey the order “forthwith to registrar (Judl.), HC of MP, Bench at Indore, who shall communicate the same to collector, Indore”. It’s about time the state government limits itself. —-INFA


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