The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 20-01-2023 | 02:50 pm
With more than a month to go for the Kasba Assembly bypoll in Maharashtra, all eyes are on the BJP, which is yet to announce its candidate. The bypoll was necessitated due to the demise of sitting BJP legislator Mukta Tilak. While a few local BJP leaders have demanded that the party field a member of the Tilak family to enable an unopposed election as a tribute to Mukta Tilak, a former Pune mayor, other aspirants are waiting in the wings.After Tilak succumbed to cancer last month, BJP leader Ujjwal Keskar publicly made a statement urging the party to consider her husband Shailesh or son Kunal as their candidate for the bypoll scheduled on February 27.“The Kasba bypoll should be unopposed as a tribute to Mukta Tilak and the party should support a member of the Tilak family. Thus, a request has been made to BJP leaders to provide a ticket to a Tilak family member,” said Keskar.According to BJP sources, while the party is yet to take a decision, the Tilak family is not averse to contesting the election if a family member gets a party ticket.However, as the Tilak family members lack political experience, this has raised hopes among other aspirants, including Ganesh Bidkar, Hemant Rasane and Dheeraj Ghate. The name of Medha Kulkarni, former BJP legislator from Kothrud Assembly seat, is also making the rounds. She was asked to refrain from contesting elections to make way for then state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil to contest from the Kothrud seat, which was considered to safe seat for BJP. Kulkarni had registered her protest but was later pacified and made vice-president of the national unit of the BJP women’s wing.From the Opposition, Congress leader Arvind Shinde, the city unit chief who lost to Mukta Tilak in 2019, said he has already conveyed to the party that the local unit was ready to contest the seat. The Congress also has another aspirant, Ravindra Dhangekar, who contested the seat as a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate in 2014 and lost to Girish Bapat.Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Rupali Patil Thombare, who recently switched sides from MNS, has also expressed her wish to contest the Kasba bypoll if her party permits. Thombare had pointed out that the BJP has been fielding candidates in bypolls for seats that were vacated due to the demise of other politicians. However, she was pulled up for going public with her wish to contest.Local Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders have also conveyed their readiness to contest the Kasba bypoll.The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance is likely to come up with a strategy for the bypoll elections. They are presently contesting state Legislative Council seats as an alliance.
New Delhi: Delhi University's Arts Faculty campus saw police action as students sought to screen a BBC documentary on PM Narendra Modi even as the government has imposed restrictions. Here is the story as it unfolded, in 10 key factsStudents at Delhi University were dragged away by police from the campus on Friday evening as they sought to publicly screen a controversial BBC documentary series about PM Narendra Modi and the BJP's alleged communal politics. This came just two days after similar scenes were witnessed at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. Student activists said the police acted violently even though the intention was for students to peacefully watch the documentary. They also alleged that "Sanghi goons" — reference to members of the BJP's mentor body RSS and its wings — attacked those gathered for the event too. Are police in-charge Sagar Singh Kalsi said 24 students were detained and the situation is now "back to normal".University officials said no permission was sought for a public screening and there were also orders issued by the district administration against any mass gathering. DU Chief Proctor Rajni Abbi, who called the cops, saw justification in the police action. "Yes, students have been detained. Have they taken permission? When police have imposed Section 144, why have they collected?" she said. She alleged that the students were "not even interested" in showing the documentary. "They just want disruptive things."The two-part series, which references the 2002 Gujarat riots and recent incidents of communal violence, has been termed by the central government as false and motivated propaganda. The government has used emergency powers to force social media outlets such as YouTube and Twitter to take it down.Ahead of screening that was planned for 5.30 pm, large number of students — led by those belonging to Left parties and other Opposition parties — gathered at DU Arts Faculty area and protested imposition of Section 144 in the area to stop the screening.Clashes erupted as right-wing student groups allegedly came to protest against the event. Those wanting the screening raised slogans of "Delhi police, go back", and the police began detaining some people who were allegedly "not students, but anti-social elements"."We were about to start the screening when Sanghi goons attacked us and started dragging those gathered for it. Police closed the gates and did not allow people to enter for the event," said a student who had come for the screening from the DU-affiliated Hindu College.The DU official said holding a mass screening was the point of contention. "They can watch it at their homes; who's stopping them?" said Chief Proctor Rajni Abbi, adding that she suspected they were outsiders. About police violently dragging students, she said, "Why are they here, first of all? [The screening] is not allowed here."The screening attempt was at the latest of such protests events held across the country, including in Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram. Opposition parties have slammed the BJP for trying to ban the documentary altogether. Student groups have led the protests.The BBC has defended the series as a “rigorously researched” piece of journalism that wants to highlight important issues.Post a comment
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: MP Shashi Tharoor disowned Anil Antony’s, senior Congress leader AK Antony’s son, claims that the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat riots will affect the sovereignty and national security of the country.“Our national security is not so fragile that a documentary made by the BBC would affect our security or sovereignty. Hence the argument that it would affect India’s sovereignty was not convincing,” said Tharoor, while reacting to the statement made by Anil Antony on the screening of the BBC documentary.On Antony resigning from the posts he held in Congress, Tharoor said that he hadn’t spoken to Antony. “I think he can speak for himself,” said Tharoor.Pointing out that all controversies over the BBC documentary was unnecessary, Tharoor said, “Had the government not gone over the top in condemning the documentary, thereby drawing attention to something that wasn’t otherwise available in India, there wouldn’t have been all these noises.”He flayed the Centre’s attempts to remove all links from social media platforms. “By not allowing the people to watch what they want goes against the tenets of democracy. Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this country. However, when a foreign organization talks about the Prime Minister or the country, it can be construed differently,” he added.“It is not proper for a government to ban the documentary. We cannot stand with that decision. Censorship is not part of our democracy and our Constitution. What the British diplomats reported about the violence that happened in Gujarat in 2002 has now been made as a documentary. It has to be remembered that our diplomats have also reported about the violence that had happened in Britain,” said Tharoor.“The Gujarat riots happened two decades ago, and it is a matter the Supreme Court has ruled on. The tragedy is something that all Indians, including Muslims, feel that we should now put behind us,” said Tharoor.
CHANDIGARH: Tension gripped the Panjab University (PU) when National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, screened the controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots titled ‘Modi: The India Question’ on Wednesday evening, prompting the authorities to stop it midway with Chandigarh Police arriving on the campus.“We started playing the documentary at Student Centre. We were midway through it when campus security and their chief forced us to stop the screening,” Sachin Galav, NSUI Chandigarh president and Congress councillor, told TOI. He said the screening was started at 5pm and the 1-hour-long documentary was played for about half an hour. “India is a democratic country and not a dictatorship. If movies in favour of Modi and his government can be played anywhere in the country, why can’t anything critical of him be screened?”Vikram Singh, chief of university security, PU, said, “Some student leaders tried to play the banned documentary. When informed, we immediately reached there and stopped the screening.” He said the student wing used a portable speaker, projector and a screen and when warned of seizing the equipment, the students stopped the screening. Professor Jagtar Singh, dean student welfare, PU, said, “NSUI members had no permission for screening anything on the campus. So, the security was informed.” A purported video of the incident accessed by TOI showed the NSUI president and the security arguing over “permission” for the screening.
Ahmedabad: The city will host 30th National Child Congress from January 27 to 31. Gujarat will host the Children’s Science Congress for fourth time. tnn
Bengaluru: Former All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi is likely to shift his attention to assembly elections in Karnataka and will campaign extensively after his Bharat Jodo Yatra ends in Srinagar on Monday (January 30). The Wayanad MP did not spend much time campaigning during the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh because of the Kanyakumari to Srinagar walkathon, but he is expected to be more active in the run up to assembly elections in Karnataka. “We have requested Rahul to lead the campaign during the last leg of the ongoing Prajadhwani Yatra, and he has agreed,” said Saleem Ahmed, Karnataka Congress working president. “He will visit Karnataka at least thrice a month until the campaign ends.” BJP has been going all out on the campaigning front, with national leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister, and party president JP Nadda visiting the state almost every other week and holding rallies. Congress believes Rahul’s campaign will counter that effect to some extent and bolster its poll prospects. AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had recently visited the state and addressed a women’s convention. The Karnataka Congress unit has already lined up several activities to prepare the ground for Rahul’s arrival. It is aiming to complete the process to select candidates before Rahul’s arrival. The state unit received some 1,400 applications for tickets and the state election committee (PEC) will meet on February 3 to prepare the first list of potential candidates. This list will be referred to the screening committee, which will prepare a shortlist and send it to the central election committee (CEC), which will take the final call on candidates. KPCC is expected to constitute the screening committee by the end of this month, and the entire process could be completed by mid-February. “The plan is to complete the preliminary process and have clarity on candidates before Rahul begins to campaign,” said R Dhruvanarayan, KPCC working president. Rahul is also likely to make more poll promises during his campaign. When Priyanka visited, she announced a poll promise of monthly cash assistance for homemakers. Before that, state Congress president DK Shivakumar and legislature party leader Siddaramaiah will lead separate bus yatras from February 3 as a follow-up to the ongoing Prajadhwani Yatra. Siddaramaiah will launch his yatra from Basavakalyan in Bidar and cover north Karnataka, while Shivakumar will begin his campaign from Kurudumale Ganapathi Temple in Kolar and cover south Karnataka.