Round The States

Delhi’s Jhaadu Vs Kamal: Non-starter or game changer

Delhi, the country’s capital is all set to cast its vote today for the next incumbent to the hot seat of power. The BJP it looks has left no stone unturned to unseat the ruling AAP, even though it opted not to have a Chief Ministerial face and bank on the Modi magic. Whereas team Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia are hopeful of a second term on the basis of its government’s performance and the bijli-paani, mohalla clinics and school education mantra. This time round, the big fight is between the two, as the third party, the Congress appears to be a no-go, and perhaps it too knows it. So with it being a clear AAP versus BJP battle the saffron brigade under Amit Shah is pretty hopeful of turning the tables. The BJP’s main campaign of relying on its slogan ‘Modi has changed the nation, now let him change Delhi,’ is laced also with targeting of Kejriwal’s “false promises,” ongoing appeasement and sheer ‘anarchy’.

Shah claims the party is all set to form the government by winning over 45 seats of the 70 this time! The confidence comes from the fact that he has held 50 public meetings and roadshows, got President Nadda to hold 44 meetings and got among other even Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to address the poorvanchalis, a large vote bank. Add to this that ‘over ‘200 MPs, several ministers, party MLAs from other States along with karyakartas have campaigned in every single Assembly segment. However, a big thrust has been on the fence sitters and Shah is banking on Shaheen Bagh to tilt the balance. The hindutava card is given a greater push, there is a strong pitch on people suffering due to traffic jams because of this protest and AAP lending patronage. On the other hand, Kejriwal has promised to uphold the Constitution’s Preamble and people’s right to Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity as enshrined. What will the voters eventually opt for, is anybody’s guess. But the results on Tuesday next would throw light on whether nationalism managed an edge over aam admi’s basic necessities.


UP’s Temple & Mosque

Both the Union Cabinet and that of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have put the final seal on the Ram temple and mosque to be built. On Wednesday last, while the UP government allotted five acres of land in Dhannipur village in Ayodhya district to the Sunni Central Waqf Board for the mosque as directed by the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Modi announced in Lok Sabha the setting up of Trust ‘Shri Ram Janambhoomi Tirtha Kshetra’ to independently deal with the construction of the temple over 67 acres acquired. This was greeted by thumping of desks and Jai Shri Ram slogans. However, hiccups appear for construction of the mosque. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board and others associated have said a no to taking any land in Ayodhya. Further, it has made it amply clear that the Sunni Waqf Board is not the representative of entire Muslim community and ‘if it accepts the Centre’s offer it shouldn’t be considered a decision of the entire community.’ The location too, has raised eyebrows as Dhannipur is some 30 km short of Ayodhya on the Lucknow-Gorakhpur highway but Yogi says it’s easy to reach and ‘communal amity and law and order are also good.’ Besides, the village, with 60% Muslims and rest mostly Yadavs, and surrounding town Raunahi already have more mosques than needed. The big question is will the mosque be built at all, and if so, whether it would be one among many or shall become ‘world famous’? Time alone will tell.


Kashmir Circumvents Hurdles

Kashmir offers a classic example of authorities finding ways to circumvent legal hurdles. With former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah having completed six months of preventive detention on Wednesday last, the authorities decided to place them under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), to be legally sound and continue to detain them without trial for three to six months. It’s no secret the Act has been misused by successive governments against political opponents. Former CM Farooq Abdullah is already booked under PSA but his absence from Lok Sabha as questioned by the Opposition provided fodder to Prime Minister Modi during his reply to the Motion of thanks to Presidential Address. Defending the decision to abrogate Article 370, Modi said while the NDA had trust in the people of the State, these three didn’t. To buttress his point he quoted them all– Mehbooba of having said: “India had betrayed Kashmir and we would have been better with deciding otherwise in 1947”; Omar said “if Article 370 is removed, then an earthquake will separate Kashmir from India” and Farooq said “if Article 370 was removed, then no one would unfurl the national flag in Kashmir,” And then Modi asked the Opposition “You speak for such people? You approve of such people?” Turning the tables alright, but for the time being. Reactions need to be watched.


Kerala under ‘State Calamity’  

Kerala is in the throes of ‘State calamity.’ A third case of the deadly Corono virus was reported on Thursday last. Apparently, the 22-year-old student had returned home 10 days ago via similar route i.e. Kunming in China, Kolkata and Kochi, as did the first two patients, students in Wuhan. Given the situation in God’s own country, New Delhi too has got into action and set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to monitor steps across the country to prevent the virus from spreading further, though all three cases are said to be “out of danger” with “normal symptoms of infection”. The State government says so far 2,239 persons who visited China recently have been put under observation, including 2,155 under home quarantine, while 84 have been isolated in hospitals, as there are chances of more positive cases emerging. The GoM got 72000-odd passengers on 593 flights from China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore screened so far of which 2,815 are under community surveillance. The scare appears to be limited to Kerala, but there can be no complacency. Authorities need to remember a stitch in time saves nine.


Name Upstages Use

Rajasthan will do well to remember William Shakespeare’s famous quote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. More so, as the Congress-ruled State is courting controversy over repackaging of previous BJP government’s scheme by simply changing the name—from Bhamashah Yojana to Jan-Aadhaar Yojana! In December last, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had brought the Jan-Aadhaar Ordinance, which among others would create ‘a demographic and socio-economic database of resident families, provide them one number, one card and one identity and also serve as proof of identity and address’ and transfer benefits of schemes directly to bank accounts. Simply being ego centric, says BJP as its  scheme by Vasundhara Raje is similar, was used for direct bank transfer and regrets needless funds are being spent. Gehlot insists the BJP scheme didn’t serve purpose for people, instead promoted party’s election symbol and Raje’s photo on the cards. In the midst of this bickering, the people can say, why blame one State alone, others are no different. True!



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