68% vote in Phase one Gujarat polls-A look at the Highlights of the Day

Hindu Business Line reported that Gujarat saw a 68% voter turnout in the first phase of voting on Saturday, 9 December. 19 districts with 89 assembly seats were part of this phase. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, BJP state chief Jitu Vaghani, former state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia, OBC leader Alpesh Thokor and SC/ST leader Jignesh Melvani are some big names from today’s list of contested seats.

NDTV stated that there were certain allegations about the use of mobile jammers at the place of voting. This was denied by the Chief Electoral Officer, BB Swain. It was not used due to policy guidelines. 397 candidates are ‘Crorepatis’. Pankaj Patel, the Congress candidate from Daskroi constituency is the richest with worth 231.93 crores declared assets. Molti Ba, 106-year-old citizen who witnessed the Dandi March and Civil Disobedience Movement during India’s freedom struggle, was one among the many voters.

India Today informed that 1,085 villagers of Gajadi, in Morbi district did not vote this time. They were upset about the lack of delivery of poll promises. The village lacks the basics of bijli, sadak and paani (electricity, roads and water). They complained that neither the BJP nor the Congress paid heed to their plea.  Hardik Patel mentioned, “I will join the Congress if it suites the needs of the Patidar community. I feel Rahul Gandhi has matured as a fine politician.”

The second phase is scheduled for 14 December. Results will be announced on 18 December. Gujarat has been the election laboratory for the country. BJP is eyeing to continue its political reign in Gujarat, while Congress sees it as a litmus test and wants to make a comeback.

Sources – India Today, NDTV

Goa BJP Chief Vinay Tendulkar triumphs in Rajya Sabha polls

Goa state BJP President Vinay Tendulkar emerged victorious on Friday by winning the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state. The polling and the counting were held on the same day. This is the first time that the BJP has its representatives in the three seats in parliament, two in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha as reported by Business Standard.

“I am happy with the support received from my party legislators along with our alliance partners. I aim to work for the progress of the state. With this win, the party completes its election circle with representatives at the level of panchayats to both the houses of parliament.” Tendulkar said.

The Deccan Herald mentioned that Tendulkar won by a six vote margin and secured 22 votes. He contested the elections against seating Congress MP Shantaram Naik, who secured 16 votes.  Naik was looking forward to a third term in the Rajya Sabha. The strength of the state legislative assembly is 38 at present due to resignations from two MLAs earlier this year. Tendulkar managed to secure 12 votes from his party, ten votes from the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party, Goa Forward Party, NCP and Independents.

“The Congress party appealed to attract secular votes from the BJP allies, but as per the results we see that no ally responded to the appeal”, Chandrakant Kavlekar, Leader of Opposition, told reporters.

Freedom fighter Tilak’s great grandson accused with Rape charges

Freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s great grandson, Rohit Tilak has been booked with charges for allegedly raping a woman. She was also forced into “unnatural sex”. A case had been filed against him on Monday night. The police informed The Indian Express.

NDTV reported that the woman was 40 years of age and knew (Rohit) Tilak for a couple of years. The police informed that she had been raped repeatedly with the excuse of marriage. Tilak has been accused with charges of rape, voluntarily causing hurt, unnatural offences, insult with an intent to provoke breach of peace and criminal intimidation based on numerous sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The Times of India mentions that he also happens to be the grandson of late Jayantrao Tilak, a senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament. Mukta Tilak, the Bharatiya Janata Party Mayor of Pune is his aunt. He had contested the Maharashtra Assembly Polls in 2014. He was the Congress candidate from Kasba Peth seat in Pune; and lost to Girish Bapat, from the BJP.

The Police informed that the 40 year old complainant separated from her husband ten years ago. She has been in touch with Tilak since two years.

Sourced from Indian Express and NDTV

Mohammad Shahabuddin: Power in jail, power out of jail

Much hullaballoo has already been created with the release of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Mohammad Shahabuddin from the Bhagalpur jail on September 10, after 11 years in prison. The four-time MP and two-time MLA, who has often been regarded as the dreaded don of Bihar’s Siwan district, almost immediately stoked controversy when he called Bihar CM Nitish Kumar a “chief minister of circumstances”. He did not even spare PM Narendra Modi, calling his government “zero, bakwas (useless)” in an interview with a Times Network reporter.

The response to his release from prison has been that of contrasts: while the citizens of Siwan seem to have given him a grandiose welcome, the Bihar government – irked by his comments on Kumar – went to the Supreme Court seeking a cancellation of his bail. Notably, the apex court did not stay this bail order of the Patna High Court on Monday and sought the reply of Shahabuddin himself on the issue.

Shahabuddin jumped into the political arena in 1990, when he was first elected the MLA in Bihar. From 1996 till 2008, he was the Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Siwan constituency. He was jailed in 2005 when Bihar was under President’s Rule, and the subsequent Nitish Kumar-led government ensured that he was properly persecuted with the formation of a special court dealing only with his cases. Notably, his wife, Heena Shahab contested the Lok Sabha elections from the district in 2009 and 2014. Both the times, she was defeated.

The 49-year-old has a total of 40 cases against him since 1986, with 24 of them still pending. The cases in which he has been convicted include the murder of CPI (ML) leader Chhotelal Shukla in 1999, attack on Siwan SP SK Singhal, and the murder of brothers Girish Raj and Satish Raj in 2004, among others. Not only this, his involvement has also been suspected in the infamous murder of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president and CPI (ML) member Chandrashekhar Prasad in 1997, as well as that of Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan in 2016 – at a time when he was in the Siwan central jail.

Often referred to as bahubali, (strongman) Shahabuddin’s dominance over Siwan seems to have been based on both a culture of fear as well as patronage. Various tales of his contribution for the locals of Siwan, helped him gain a Robin Hood-like image with widespread popularity. But these stand in pale comparison with stories that narrate the assaults by his men on anyone who dared to raise a finger against him. Shahbuddin maintained direct control over health, education, trade, land deals and the liquor business. He took the delivery justice in his own hands with his own brand of courts. Tales go as far to suggest that when Shahabuddin was in power, people even avoided travelling at night.

This apart, Shahabuddin’s significance within the political fold over the years, despite his involvement in criminal activities, can be attributed to two important factors. First is the minority (Muslim) votes he commands in Siwan, as well as other neighbouring districts. These, according to him, have not moved to Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) (JDU), but have remained with his party. The second factor – which may not be very significant in the present context but was so in the past – was the large-scale support he enjoyed from the landed upper castes. Speaking on this, Shahabuddin was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, “In those days, those whom the CPI (ML) called feudal were with me and the RJD government. At that time, there were only two sides. I gave a political umbrella to those upper castes in Siwan who have now migrated to the BJP.”

Politically speaking, the release of Mohammed Shahabuddin comes at an inopportune time for the ruling Mahagathbandan alliance of JDU, RJD and the Congress. The 49-year-old, by overtly criticising Nitish Kumar and calling RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav his onlyneta (leader), has dealt a further blow to the alliance already suffering from internal fissures. The limbo is clearly reflected by the state government in its contrasting stands. While the government did file for a petition with the SC against the bail order and is now mulling a non-bailable warrant against him, this has been clearly at odds with Lalu Prasad Yadav defending Shahabuddin after his statement. In fact, RJD vice-president Raghubansh Prasad Singh even supported the jibe against the chief minister of his own alliance.

SOURCES: Indian Express

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Curfew imposed in Kashmir valley on Eid

The Jammu and Kashmir state administration on Tuesday banned gatherings at popular mosques and imposed curfew in all ten districts in the Kashmir valley. The decision comes in the wake of death of two people in clashes across the valley, which took place after morning prayers of Eid.

One death was reported during clashes with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district as well.

The army has been asked to be on standby, in case there is a fresh episode of outbreak of violence. The valley has been witnessing unrest for  the past two and a half months, leading to the death of 75 people.

The curfew will be enforced from midnight and in addition to this, the army has been placed at different points.

This is the first time that a curfew has been imposed on the day of Eid.

The army has deployed drones and choppers to keep the situation under control.

Further, the government has shutdown internet services of all telecom networks and mobile networks apart from BSNL for the next three days.

Is India is still in the clutches of Casteism?

The proverb, “Give a man a fish; he’ll eat for a day.Teach a man how to fish; he’ll eat for a lifetime,” is as apt for Dalits today as for any other community. The constitution which promises to provide equal status to all the people irrespective of their caste has pushed this community to oblivion.

India is a functional democracy. Democracy ensures equality among all. But does the country give equal rights to the Dalits as well? Looking at the recent incidents of mistreatment, the democratic status of India stands contradicted. The question that strikes is whether they are enabled to get what they are entitled to? For every political party, the Dalit community often turns out to be a prized pawn which can help them win more seats and get in power. Before the elections, Dalits are entitled by the political parties to important statuses in the society, but then comes the reality into the frame when after the elections, the situation for this community remains grim devoid of the enablement.

This explains how parties embark upon enabling the constitutional rights guaranteed by the government to the Dalits, as a scheme to garner marginalised support, which suffers a flipside when the reality strikes, amid the contours of dirty politics. Thus making no considerable positive change in their social status.

Gujarat’s recent case of vigilantism has shed substantial light on how Dalits are being discriminated. A Dalit family had been publicly beaten up for skinning a dead cow. The fact that the so called gau rakshaks had wrongly accused the family of slaughtering a cow, and taken law in their hands, is highly objectionable. Would this have been possible, if this family did not belong to the Dalit community?

While, this increasing involvement of Dalits in politics could be seen as a good development for the community, their usage as a mere political, is rather problematic. The seed of this problem is still untouched – the constrained mentality of the society.

 

Sources: The Hindu, YouLibrary

 

At Siachen Martyr’s Funeral, Minister Displays Jayalalithaa’s Photo On Coffin

At the funeral of Sepoy G Ganesan, who lost his life, alongside nine others, in an avalanche in Siachen, politics found its way as Sellur Raju seized the chance to promote Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The State Minister also brought a cheque for Rs 10 lakhs on the government’s behalf and held a portrait of CM J Jayalalithaa against his coffin in Madurai. The Tamil Nadu government has previously indulged in a series of gimmicks to promote its chief minister. These include her pictures on flood relief material and couples at a mass marriage wearing bands with her picture.

As per report from Jagran, the minister also made a gesture to the martyr’s mother, asking her to look at the picture and see who exactly the money was coming from. Such behaviour enraged locals present there, who termed it as an insensitive act in front of a martyr’s coffin.

Source: One India